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'It only takes one time': Experts warn of increase in fentanyl-laced Adderall, Xanax

Posted at 10:48 PM, May 09, 2022

CINCINNATI — Drug experts are raising red flags about taking illicit drugs — warning some might be laced with the powerful opiate fentanyl.

Chief Tom Synan with the Hamilton County Addiction Response Coalition said increased fentanyl is a trend the coalition is seeing more frequently.

“If you’re getting a pill from social media, the internet, off the street, from a friend, from a dealer. You don’t know what’s in that pill,” Synan said. “If you don’t get it from a doctor or pharmacist, you don’t know what’s in that drug. There’s a high chance that fentanyl can be in it.”

This comes in the wake of two Ohio State University students — one from Dearborn County — dying from overdose. Shortly after the incident, Columbus Public Health issued an alert warning of fake Adderall pills laced with fentanyl. Investigators are looking into if the students died after taking Adderall laced with fentanyl, according to our ABC News affiliate in Columbus.

Synan said he’s seeing more cases of fentanyl being laced in Adderall and Xanax.

“It no longer just applies to that opioid user. It now applies to middle America — kids in school, someone thinking, 'If I take an Adderall or oxycodone for pain, If I take something because I want a quick pick-me-up, there’s a potential it could have fentanyl,'” Synan said.

His focus now is on harm reduction. Synan said if someone is taking illicit drugs, he wants them to have naloxone (Narcan), not to use the drugs alone and to always have fentanyl test strips.

Synan said he understands people are going to take illicit drugs. He’s hoping they’ll do so safely.

“It forced us to say if we can’t stop the drug supply, if it’s so overwhelming … then can we keep people alive. That’s where harm reduction comes in,” Synan said.

He said test strips can be picked up at places like Hamilton County Public Health at no cost.

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