Chico overdose: One dead and 12 in hospital after 'mass drug overdose'

Pauline Gross
January 14, 2019

Above, syringes of the opiate fentanyl appear at an inpatient pharmacy.

California authorities believe the powerful opioid fentanyl is responsible for a mass overdose event that left one person dead and hospitalized over a dozen others.

As of about 10 pm last night, nine people were still in the hospital, four in critical condition, two in serious condition, and three in fair condition.

O'Brien said that officers performed CPR and administered six doses of naloxone, which can reverse the effects of an overdose and comes in half-doses.

O'Brien said investigators believe the overdoses were caused by ingestion of some form of fentanyl and another substance that has not yet been identified.

"Certainly there is potential for additional fatalities", O'Brien said.

Two officers who responded to the scene also went to a hospital after they said they felt the effects of a drug similar to fentanyl, KHSL-TV reported.

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A mass casualty incident was declared to prepare Enloe Hospital for a large number of patients and every Butte County ambulance responded to the house, according to Chico Fire Chief Steve Standridge.

"The residence where this incident occurred is being treated as a hazmat site", he said.

Cops were reportedly called to the Chico address at around 9am and treated the overdosing victims, who were all known to each other, with opioid treatment naloxone.

'The amount of fentanyl - these substances are extraordinarily risky and it takes a very minute amount to cause [life-threatening] conditions, ' O'Brien said.

O'Brien said a narcotics task force is investigating the origin of the fentanyl, which may have been mixed with other substances.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 100 times stronger than morphine. "That is changing unfortunately. and now we've have this MCI (mass casualty incident)...that concerns us all". A report issued by the Centers for Disease Control in December showed fentanyl was the leading cause of overdose deaths in the US for 2016, the most recent year numbers have been released.

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