LOCAL NEWS

Top Utah DEA Agent Warns Of Fentanyl-Laced Vaping Cartridges

Nov 12, 2019, 9:12 PM | Updated: 10:09 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah –As of Tuesday, Utah had 114 cases of vaping-related lung disease according to the Utah Department of Health with an additional 13 cases under investigation.

Health officials reported that 60% of vaping-related illness cases have required hospitalization and officials are still reporting one vaping-related death.

And according to Utah’s top drug enforcement agent, a new threat for vapers involving fentanyl could be coming to Utah.

Drug Enforcement Agency Special Agent in Charge Brian Besser said he believes it’s only a matter of time before people see fentanyl-laced vaping cartridges arriving in Utah and said they are already popping up in other states.

“You can literally vaporize any drug, so it’s extremely concerning to us when we see this. You feel like you are taking two steps forward and four steps back,” Besser said. “The face of fentanyl right now is really a new phenomenon or a newer phenomenon that I didn’t think I would be dealing with.”

Alisha Robinson knows the deadly ramifications of fentanyl. Her 23-year-old son Brett McDougall died from the deadly drug in September.

“I miss my son every day,” said an emotional Robinson. “It’s heart-wrenching. You sit there as a parent and you think what could I have done differently. If we didn’t have fentanyl on the streets my son would still be here. Fentanyl is deadly.”

Robinson said her concerns are heightened because of how popular vaping has become among youths.

“Our younger generation that’s still in high school, (vaping) is the new hype, the new thing they don’t have any  idea of ‘does this have fentanyl in it?’ They don’t even understand what fentanyl is — most adults don’t even understand what fentanyl is,” she said.

A spokesperson for the Utah Department of Health told KSL TV that there are currently no known cases of fentanyl-laced cartridges in the state.

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Top Utah DEA Agent Warns Of Fentanyl-Laced Vaping Cartridges