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Police: 2 teen deaths in 48 hours connected to counterfeit Percocet laced with fentanyl

Police believe a 15-year-old and 14-year-old both overdosed after taking the laced drugs, but toxicology results are pending.

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — The Prince William County Police Department is warning the community that drugs laced with fentanyl have been found in the community, following the death of two teens within 48 hours. 

Police said a 15-year-old died Sunday in Woodbridge and a 14-year-old died Tuesday in Dale City. Both deaths appear to be connected to counterfeit percocet -- known as "Perc30" --  laced with fentanyl, police said. The official cause of death is pending toxicology results from the medical examiner's office. 

"While the investigations into the two recent deaths are ongoing, investigators have strong suspicions the victims overdosed after having consumed the fentanyl-laced narcotic," First Sergeant Jonathan Perok wrote in a press release from PWPD. 

Percocet is a pain reliever usually containing oxycodone and acetaminophen. 

"The Police Department recognizes our youth population as most susceptible to peer influence and pressures," Perok wrote. "We implore parents and guardians to take immediate action to actively engage with their children and loved ones as soon as possible about the dangers of drug use and encourage constructive dialogue to prevent further deaths and illness."

Overdose deaths reached a grim milestone in the U.S. with more than 100,000 killed in 2021, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In most cases, the highly potent synthetic opioid fentanyl was the driving force. Health experts continue to see a trend of deadly overdoses involving multiple substances in a drug user's system.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid and form of medicine that when prescribed is used to treat patients for severe pain typically after surgery, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Additionally, NIH said it can be “used to treat patients with chronic pain who are physically tolerant to other opioids." Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. NIH says that synthetic opioids are the most common drugs that are involved in drug overdoses.

This is not the first instance of fentanyl-related overdoses in the DMV. In early April, The Metropolitan Police Department responded to 17 overdoses in a three-day period, leaving 10 people dead. DC Police said they linked the overdoses to a "bad batch" of cocaine mixed with "suspected fentanyl." In late February, six people were sent to the hospital after a "mass overdose" incident at an apartment in Falls Church, according to Fairfax County Police. Nine people died after 14 suspected narcotic overdoses were reported on Jan. 28, 2022 in Southwest, 

D.C. Police said opioid-related overdoses killed more than 420 people in the District.in 2021. 

D.C.'s director of Behavioral Health put out a video following the overdoses on how to tell if someone may be experiencing an overdose.

"You may see that they have pinpoint pupils, their skin may be clammy, and they may be unresponsive," Dr. Bazron warned.

Naloxone, commonly called NARCAN, is the best solution to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.  

"Lay them on their side and watch them closely, if they don’t respond within a couple of minutes you may give administer a second dose," she said. 

Bazron added that Naloxone could save a life and won’t kill a person in the event they’re overdosing.

Under the law in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, if someone does have an adverse reaction to Naloxone, the person helping them would not be liable in civil damages for any act or omission, not constituting gross negligence, in the course of rendering such care or assistance.

In D.C., individuals can text LiveLongDC to 888-811 to find free Naloxone without a prescription or ID, and it can be delivered.  

There are also many tools used across the country to help curb the growing overdose problem, including the use of fentanyl strips. By placing a small sample of the drug in question in a small cup or cap filled with water, the strip can determine if it contains fentanyl. If the soaked strip reveals two lines, fentanyl is positive. One line indicates a negative result.

A woman who wished to remain anonymous told WUSA9 a fentanyl strip obtained through the Arlington County Department of Human Services saved her life late last year. 

"When I used it on Halloween, six of the bags I had, two of them were fentanyl and I threw them away," the client said. "If I had not had those strips, I probably would have gone through the last two bags and I probably wouldn't be here right now. Addiction is a brain disease. The strips are not coming to us for us to get high, it's letting us know they have our back."

The woman is currently receiving recovery treatment services in Arlington. 


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