fentanyl

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Some drug users in central and northern New York are using tiny test strips to determine if the heroin or cocaine they are about to shoot up contains fentanyl, a powerful opioid that is often mixed in with street drugs. 

Fentanyl is responsible for an uptick in drug overdoses and deaths in recent years. ACR Health in Syracuse is distributing the strips as part of its syringe exchange and overdose prevention programs in a nine-county area. Roberto Gonzalez, director of ACR Health's syringe exchange program, said it’s been well received so far. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Local law enforcement agencies are hoping Congress passes legislation that would allow funding for some cutting edge technology that identifies lethal illicit drugs like fentanyl. 

vadikunk / via Flickr

The Onondaga County Legislature is in the process of hiring legal counsel to sue opioid manufacturers and distributors over the costs of the heroin and opioid epidemic. Some legislators say opioid manufacturers lied about the addictive nature of their products.

Although they do not have a number yet, Onondaga County Legislative Chairman Ryan McMahon said whatever amount they end up suing opioid manufacturers for will never be enough.

Thomas Marthisen / Flickr

The number of heroin-related overdoses continues to rise in upstate, including in central New York. Now one agency that helps addicts is putting more emphasis on a harm-reduction technique called a “test shot.”

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

W-18, a new synthetic opioid, may be on the scene in central and northern New York. ACR Health prevention director Erin Bortel said several overdose deaths in the North Country have raised suspicions.

Last week, sheriff’s deputies raided what they say is the biggest fentanyl mill they’ve seen in Onondga County, arresting six people and stopping the sale of an estimated 6,000 bags of fentanyl-laced heroin locally. The bust showcases how a drug that is often used for good, has been co-opted into the illegal drug scene.

Anyone ever involved in a car accident, or who has gone to the emergency room with a broken bone, may have heard of fentanyl. The synthetic opioid is a prescription medication, according to William Eggleston, a pharmacist inn the Upstate Poison Control Center.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Local police agencies have a new foe in the fight against opioid addiction -- the synthetic drug fentanyl. It started showing up on central New York streets just over a year ago. Fentanyl, mostly mixed with heroin, but sometimes on i’s own, being sold to opioid users.