Published: Mon, January 14, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Mass Fentanyl Overdose in California Kills One, Sends 12 to Hospital

Mass Fentanyl Overdose in California Kills One, Sends 12 to Hospital

Chico Police Chief Mike O'Brien provides an update on the mass fentanyl overdose in Chico, Calif., on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. Above, syringes of the opiate fentanyl appear at an inpatient pharmacy.

Police say a mass overdose at a house in Chico that killed one man and left four people in critical condition appears to have been largely caused by the risky opiate fentanyl, the Enterprise Record reports.

As of about 10 pm last night, nine people were still in the hospital, four in critical condition, two in serious condition, and three in fair condition. Both received treatment at a hospital and were later released, police said.

Chico Police Chief Michael O'Brien said the main substance involved is believed to be fentanyl - the most commonly used drug in overdoses, according to a recent government report. He described seeing six people undergoing CPR at the same time.

O'Brien said investigators believe the overdoses were caused by ingestion of some form of fentanyl and another substance that has not yet been identified.

Mike O'Brien, a police captain in Chico, California, said: "Certainly there's potential for additional fatalities".

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Chico Fire Department Division Chief Jesse Alexander told the station it was the largest mass casualty incident he had seen in years.

"We do respond to many, many overdoses and particularly with the opioid crisis that is occurring everywhere in this country, to include Chico, California, we want to have in the hands of officers, who are often the first to arrive on scene, the ability to administer a life-saving drug", he said.

The victims, O'Brien said, "generally" all "knew each other", according to the Bee. "That is changing, unfortunately, and now we've had this mass casualty incident".

In August, President Donald Trump urged the Senate to pass a measure to stop synthetic opioid drugs such as fentanyl from being transported into the United States via the U.S. Postal Service system.

The home has been deemed a hazardous materials site, and the Butte Interagency Narcotics Task Force were deployed to the scene, according to officials. A report issued by the Centers for Disease Control in December showed fentanyl was the leading cause of overdose deaths in the US for 2016, the most recent year numbers have been released.

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