Potentially fatal drug found here

Published 8:58 am Friday, May 15, 2015

When narcotics officers with the Davie County Sheriff’s Department arrested Joe Stafford on multiple charges last month, they knew they were getting one of the largest “retail” dealers of opiates off the street.

They didn’t know they may have saved a drug addict’s life.

Among the drugs confiscated from Stafford were three bindles, or dosage units, of heroin. The problem: tests came back showing that heroin contained lethal amounts of Fentanyl, a cheap drug imported from Mexico that is mixed with heroin to maximize profits.

They have alerted local EMS workers, and want the public to know about the dangers. Deaths and serious illnesses have been reported across the region.

Although they are called heroin overdoses, many may be caused by the Fentanyl, which is difficult to find in the bloodstream after death, said Davie Narcotics Chief Chris Shuskey.

“The fear is that somebody will get Fentanyl instead of heroin,” he said.

Officers are also being warned. Fentanyl can be absorbed through the skin, and by inhalation.

“The drug cartels are sending large amounts of Fentanyl up here to cut with heroin,” Shuskey said. It doesn’t mix well, and one person may get a lethal dose of Fetanyl out of a batch of heroin, while the next dose may contain none.

The heroin confiscated from Stafford, who lived on NC 801 near Greasy Corner before his arrest, contained 400 mg of Fetanyl, when a “micro gram” can cause serious illness.

Heroin use in this area is on the rise, said Davie Sheriff Andy Stokes.

Shuskey said the most popular drugs in Davie County are Oxycodone and Oxymorphone. Stafford was selling those, as well, but when they weren’t available the users would buy heroin.

“Most people won’t take Fentanyl on purpose, but if they take heroin with Fentanyl in it, the Fentanyl will stay in their system much longer than the heroin, making the next dose potentially more dangerous.