- Associated Press - Thursday, February 6, 2014

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - The Vermont Health Department confirms there have been three drug overdose deaths in Addison County from the painkiller fentanyl.

Vermont State Police released a warning Wednesday that fentanyl was being packaged and sold as heroin. The deaths happened last month.

The state health department says fentanyl is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin, and much deadlier.

Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Harry Chen says that “just a few grains” of pure fentanyl can kill. Chen says heroin users might not realize they are using heroin laced with fentanyl.

Police said Wednesday they are trying to develop information about the packaging source and distribution of the dug.

Fentanyl has been implicated in a string of fatal overdoses in the Northeast and 22 recent overdose deaths in western Pennsylvania.

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