Published: Sun, January 13, 2019

Suspected Fentanyl Overdoses Leave 1 Dead, 12 Hospitalized

Suspected Fentanyl Overdoses Leave 1 Dead, 12 Hospitalized

The mass overdose appears to have been largely caused by the risky opioid fentanyl, Chico police Chief Mike O'Brien said at a news conference.

"Every indication is that this mass overdose incident was caused from the ingestion of some form of fentanyl in combination with another substance, although that is yet to be confirmed".

One person was pronounced dead on the scene, and 12 others were rushed to the nearby Enloe Hospital.

The victims were between the ages of 19 and at least 30, he said.

"It was a large, mass casualty incident for us", the fire chief said in a news conference Saturday night.

Four of the victims were in critical condition, said Mike O'Brien, a police captain in Chico, California.

He said that while it is still too early in the investigation to be sure, the likely cause of death and injuries is from consumption of the potent drug.

"These substances are extraordinarily unsafe, and it takes a very minute amount to cause lifesaving conditions", 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. Chico police have been equipped with naloxone since 2018.

O'Brien said that the overdose "could have been a lot worse" without a speedy emergency response.

O'Brien said that numerous overdoses in Chico involve heroin, but not Fentanyl, adding that it's worrying to see the powerful drug in the city.

It's not clear what drug the fentanyl might have been paired with, he said, but his officers have only come across it when it was combined with heroin. It blocks or reverses the effects of opioids and is often carried by first responders. "That is changing unfortunately. and now we've have this MCI (mass casualty incident)...that concerns us all".

In August, President Donald Trump urged the Senate to pass a measure to stop synthetic opioid drugs such as fentanyl from being transported into the United States via the U.S. Postal Service system.

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