Local experts look deeper into fentanyl dangers

Specialists told WCTV to look at the tip of a pen: that tiny amount of fentanyl in the bloodstream is deadly.
Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 6:22 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 6, 2022 at 6:25 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Local experts are trying to educate the public on just how dangerous fentanyl is.

Those specialists told WCTV to take a look at the tip of a pen, that tiny amount is how much fentanyl is needed in the bloodstream to be deadly.

“I get calls from lawyers, prosecutors, from parents asking what to do but it’s usually after the fact,” said CEO of Avalon Treatment Centers Joanna Johnson. She has been working as an addiction specialist for more than thirty years.

Johnson said she would like to see more education on just how dangerous fentanyl and other opioids are and just how many people are overdosing every day.

“I would say we hear at least two a week and we have heard this now for one year and this is a small area, so take this and multiply this by the State of Florida and you can see the enormity of this problem,” Johnson said.

Jay Reeve with the Apalachee Center said the “street fentanyl” is likely coming from unregulated, illegal labs.

“It’s not just that it’s a powerful drug with extraordinarily addictive qualities, that’s just in its pure form,” Reeve said. “You also don’t know what you’re getting when you’re buying fentanyl off of the street.”

Reeve said another danger of the painkiller is that it can be laced with other substances.

“They’re not doing it under a doctor’s prescription pain relief, they are doing it because they’re addicted to opioids. They’re buying it where they can get it and there’s no quality control or FDA approval,” Reeve said.

Johnson said the prescription version serves a purpose and is regulated but the street form is incredibly powerful and dangerous.

“It is probably 10 times as deadly as heroin and probably 30 times as deadly as morphine,” Johnson said.

Johnson recommends that anyone who is doing illicit drugs use a fentanyl test strip before every use.

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