Doses of the painkiller fentanyl, which may have caused dozens of drug overdose deaths in the Detroit area in the past two weeks, appear to have been made illegally in underground laboratories, reports the Detroit News. The findings are based on chemical tests that indicate the fentanyl was not made the same way as the prescription forms of the drug, said Calvin Trent of the Detroit Bureau of Substance Abuse. “They’ve confirmed it’s being clandestinely manufactured,” but not in the Detroit area. he said.
Authorities suspect the painkiller, mixed with either heroin or cocaine, is to blame for a spike in drug overdose deaths involving 50 people in Wayne County during the past two weeks, including two yestrday. Since January 2005, the county has confirmed 130 fentanyl overdose deaths. “There’s still a lot of questions, but all evidence points to it being a mix that came onto the street from illegal networks,” said Dr. Mark Greenwald, a Wayne State University psychiatry professor on a task force of health officials and others assembled to respond to the overdoses.