KANSAS CITY, Mo — A shocking new trend as the number of fentanyl overdoses spike across the metro. As we first reported Monday, some of the victims are teens. While the United States may be in a pandemic the opioid epidemic never stopped.
Nancy Chartrand with the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department says it’s an extremely unforgiving and potent drug. She says in 2019 the city had 23 overdoses, and for 2020 they are at 41.
Chartrand says in the last 30 days the number rose significantly.
Overdoses are up in Jackson, Johnson and Wyandotte counties. In KCK, police say drugs are being laced and sold with the drug which the CDC says can be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.
“These are drugs that are being either cut or laced enhanced with fentanyl because it gives a longer quicker high, the individuals who are purchasing them don’t even know that fentanyl is an ingredient in it,” Chartrand said.
Monday night, Overland Park Police say a man in his 20s overdosed from the drug, but survived. Officer John Lacy with the department says both fentanyl and heroin are great concerns throughout the city. Lacy says overdoses are up in Overland Park by 33%.
“You have to understand when you take fentanyl, if you even take it even a little bit. It’s very, very deadly,” Lacy said.
Susan Whitmore is the president & CEO of First Call KC and helps people struggling with addiction. She says using fentanyl can kill users immediately. She says dealers market their opiates as being stronger and more effective by using fentanyl, but don’t always understand how much can kill the user.
“They get to a period of hopelessness. And I just want people to know that there is hope. And there is treatment and help is available. It just takes a phone call,” Whitmore said.
Whitmore says First Call has a 24 hour help line for people struggling with addiction. You can reach them at (816) 361-5900.