Fentanyl

Florida’s medical examiners are warning the death toll from opioids is likely to spike as official data is released.  The most recent reporting doesn’t reflect the impact of some of the deadliest synthetic drugs.

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An autopsy has confirmed that a 10-year-old Florida boy is among the state's youngest victims of the opioid crisis.

WMFE

A Florida drug dealer has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for his customer's fatal overdose.

Court records show that 25-year-old Hugo Margenat-Castro was sentenced Thursday. He pleaded guilty in March to conspiring to distribute heroin and distributing fentanyl causing death.

Authorities say Margenat-Castro advertised selling heroin on social media, prompting potential customers to contact him through a website and arrange a meeting to purchase the opioid. At some point, the heroin began to be laced with fentanyl.

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A woman has been arrested in Puerto Rico and charged in her baby's fatal fentanyl overdose in Florida last year.

An internet black market used by some Floridians to buy and sell heroin and fentanyl has been shut down in an international law enforcement operation.

Marle Brannon / Flickr

Investigators have no leads or suspects in the death of a 10-year-old Miami boy from an apparent fentanyl overdose, the youngest known victim of the opioid crisis in the city, the police chief said Thursday.

Florida is enacting tough new penalties on dealers of the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency

Accidental opioid overdoses by first responders are an alarming phenomenon.

An opioid overdose is an alarmingly frequent call for paramedics and firefighters in South Florida. But according to WLRN reporter Peter Haden, many of those victims came from outside the state to seek treatment for their addiction. With relapses topping 80 percent, many who arrive seeking help today can become tomorrow's overdose victim.

Under a newly signed Florida law, Possession of just four grams of the synthetic drug fentanyl can land a person in jail for a minimum of 3 years. Some are pushing back against the mandatory minimum sentence. But others claim it makes sense when one considers that that same amount—just four ounces--is enough to kill a room full of people.

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Florida is cracking down on those found in possession of fentanyl.

Scott Signs Fentanyl, Pollution Notification Bills

Jun 15, 2017
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Gov. Rick Scott signed measures Wednesday that will impose minimum mandatory sentences on people who traffic in the dangerous drug fentanyl and require increased public notification of pollution incidents.

For nearly four years now, an unusual coalition of Republicans and Democrats has worked to reduce mandatory prison terms for many federal drug crimes.

But that bipartisan movement may be shallower than it appears. Indeed, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who both supported a cut-back on some drug punishments, are preparing a bill that would create tough new penalties for people caught with synthetic opioid drugs. Grassley chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Feinstein is the panel's ranking member.

Fentanyl Trafficking Bill Goes To Scott

May 31, 2017
Marle Brannon / Flickr

A bill that would impose minimum mandatory sentences for people who traffic in the synthetic drug fentanyl was sent Tuesday to Gov. Rick Scott.

Marle Brannon / Flickr

A new report from Florida medical examiners finds fentanyl caused more deaths than any other drug in Florida last year.

In the day room at St. Ann's Corner of Harm Reduction, which runs a needle exchange program in the Bronx, a group of guys are playing dominoes and listening to salsa music while they wait for lunch. And Van Asher, one of the staffers in charge of "transactions" — that means he gives out needles — is talking up his latest idea for how to keep the users here safe.

He wants to tell them what's really in their stash.

"If you're doing dope," he says to one client, "we'll give you a test strip so you can test and see if there's fentanyl."

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Florida’s medical examiners are seeing a precipitous rise in fentanyl deaths.  They recently published their interim 2016 report on drug-related fatalities.

There are lots of ways to measure the recent spike in opioid overdoses in Miami-Dade County. You can look at the number of deaths from fentanyl—a potent drug often mixed with heroin sold in the street—which spiked from 13 in 2014 to nearly 300 just two years later, or at the even more powerful derivative carfentanyl, developed as an anesthetic for elephants, and which, by rights, should only be available at the zoo.

Fentanyl Crackdown Bill Goes To Gov. Scott

May 7, 2017
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After an impassioned debate over minimum-mandatory sentences, the Florida Senate voted Friday to send a bill to the governor that would impose tough penalties on people convicted of trafficking in fentanyl and related opioid drugs.

Legislature At Odds Over Fentanyl Sentencing

May 5, 2017

The House on Thursday rejected a Senate plan to give judges more leeway in sentencing people convicted of fentanyl trafficking.

State health officials stopped in Jacksonville Wednesday to hear about how opioid abuse is affecting Northeast Florida. It was their fourth stop on a state tour, set up by Governor Rick Scott.  

Deadly Fentanyl Drug Ignites Senate Debate

May 3, 2017

Grappling with a deadly drug scourge across the state, Florida senators Tuesday had an impassioned debate about whether the state should require mandatory-minimum prison sentences for fentanyl trafficking.

House Cracking Down On Fentanyl, Drug Trafficking

Apr 21, 2017
WMFE

As Florida tackles an uptick in opioid overdoses, state lawmakers passed a measure Thursday that seeks to toughen state drug trafficking laws.

New information on drug overdose deaths from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement shows staggering increases in deaths linked to opioid abuse in Florida.

In an annual report released late last year, FDLE found deaths from drugs like heroin claimed 779 lives in Florida in 2015; an increase in more than 75 percent from the prior year.

More powerful opioids like fentanyl saw similar increases: over 900 deaths were linked to the super-potent painkiller, an increase of nearly 70 percent.

China is the source of deadly fentanyl that’s fueling an opioid overdose epidemic in South Florida and elsewhere in the United States.

That’s the finding of the new report released Wednesday by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission entitled Fentanyl: China’s Deadly Export to the United States.

A Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department transport unit is often the first stop for who somebody who's overdosed.  

“They are going to be extremely cyanotic due to the lack of breathing,”said Jacksonville Rescue Division Chief David Castleman in response to what he's encountered treating overdoses. "They’re going to be blue. Unresponsive completely."

As more addicts on the First Coast are turning to heroin for their highs, overdoses have skyrocketed.

 


Photo: Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

A street pill that looks like it came straight from the pharmacist is causing deaths in Orlando. State law enforcement officials discovered the so-called super pill recently, and they are warning residents to keep from buying pain killers on the black market.

If you've ever had surgery, you may have been given an analgesic named fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a favored painkiller because it acts fast. But it's also 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine. The powerful drug has made its way to the streets and increasingly is being used to cut heroin — resulting in a deadly combination.