In Anaheim, in three unrelated cases that occurred Monday, four people died from a possible series of fentanyl overdoses, authorities said.
Police found no drugs at the three locations, but they did find foils and other drug paraphernalia, Anaheim Police Department officials said.
Authorities believe the drugs were taken in different ways in three different locations. Officials are awaiting toxicology reports from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department to confirm whether fentanyl was involved in the deaths. These reports could take up to eight weeks, said Anaheim Police Sgt. Shane Carringer said.
According to the police, all three emergency calls were made within about an hour.
“To get four deaths in an hour in a city the size of Anaheim is a huge increase for us,” said Carringer.
At 11:40 a.m., a woman was found dead in a motel room on the 800 block of South Beach Boulevard. Twenty minutes later, a man was found dead on the 1700 block on South State College Boulevard. Both are said to have died of a drug overdose, the authorities said.
At 12:48 p.m., police responded to the block of 500 on South Anaheim Boulevard, where they found three men. Two were pronounced dead on the scene, and the third was resuscitated using Narcan, the brand name for naloxone, a nasal treatment used to combat a known or suspected opioid overdose. This man was taken to hospital in critical condition, Carringer said.
The police did not provide any information about the names and ages of the four deceased or the man who was hospitalized.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is 80 times stronger than morphine and 100 times stronger than heroin.
While the police don’t have a definitive answer to all deaths, they believe that at least one overdose that resuscitated the man with Narcan involved some form of opioid.
“If you overdose on opiates, you can be confident that there is likely some level of fentanyl in it,” Carringer said. “Because people don’t usually miss their dosage that much.”
Police announced the deaths on social media Monday in an attempt to draw the public’s attention to the “alarming” series of events and try to stave off more deaths, Carringer said.
“These dealers essentially give unsuspecting victims a loaded gun knowing they are likely to die and don’t care,” Orange County Dist said. Atty. Todd Spitzer in November. He and other California prosecutors are trying to prosecute any drug dealer for the murder that makes or sells fentanyl that leads to the death of someone. “Fentanyl is cheap, easy to get, and kills people who had no idea they were taking it,” said Spitzer.