- The Washington Times - Monday, January 27, 2014

Pittsburgh’s medical community has issued a warning about a highly potent form of heroin blamed for 17 deaths in just one week, including three Sunday morning in Allegheny County.

The 17 deaths had a common denominator: Each victim was in possession of heroin bags marked “Theraflu.” Researchers tested the bags and found they contained fentanyl, a drug 100 times more powerful than morphine.

“The fentanyl we’re seeing as a powder has to be made by somebody,” Allegheny County medical examiner Dr. Karl Williams told ABC News. “Somebody is making this somewhere in a clandestine laboratory.”

Fentanyl is administered by licensed medical practitioners are a particularly strong pain killer. Investigators believe the fentanyl that was found in the victims’ heroin bags was illegally manufactured in a lab by “some clever chemists,” the Daily Mail reported.

“We usually deal with 250 drug overdoses a year, so what’s going on is really significant,” Dr. Williams told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

City medical officials said the recent spate of fatal overdoses is similar to 1988, when 18 were killed after taking China White, the street name for a powerful synthetic form of heroin, the Mail reported.


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