Utah warning: counterfeit pills, drugs laced with fentanyl could cause overdose deaths

Feb 24, 2022, 2:57 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 4:52 pm

UTAH COUNTY, Utah — New warnings came from law enforcement in Utah this week amid a group of fentanyl-linked deaths in Colorado and the latest significant seizure in Utah.

The Park City Police Department joined the Summit County Sheriff’s Office and others in posting a warning about unintentional overdoses due to laced or counterfeit drugs containing fentanyl.

“Fentanyl is not easily identifiable and is commonly mistaken for other controlled substances and prescriptions,” a Facebook post stated. “Moreover, Fentanyl overdose deaths are most common among young adults and youth. Unfortunately, our community is not immune.”

The words of caution came after five people were found dead in an apartment in Commerce City, Colorado, and investigators uncovered an “overwhelming amount” of fentanyl and cocaine in an environment where prosecutors suspected the group may have been snorting the substance.

It also came as Utah Highway Patrol announced three arrests that were related to more than eight pounds of fentanyl pills uncovered during a traffic stop in Cedar City.

In October, law enforcement officers in Utah County made a significant fentanyl bust of their own, supplying what they said was enough fentanyl powder to supply lethal doses to 16,000 people.

Utah County deputies make major fentanyl bust in Spanish Fork

Sgt. Doug Howell with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office Special Enforcement Team said Wednesday he was concerned about the trajectory on which fentanyl was headed in Utah.

“I’m afraid that fentanyl’s going, I think it’s going to take over,” Howell said.

Howell acknowledged the dangers of recent warnings were a real worry, given the potential for drug users to unwittingly ingest a lethal amount of fentanyl.

“A person may take one pill and not feel anything, take another pill that has, you know, three or four times the amount of a fatal dose and that’s it,” Howell said.

Howell said cartels increasingly appear to be mixing fentanyl with other drugs.

“They’re adding it to heroin, they’re adding it to meth, they’re adding it to everything to increase the addictiveness of it and then pushing that across the border,” he said.

Park City police warned specifically that pills laced with fentanyl have appeared locally have tended to be blue, greenish, or pale-colored and they may have the markings M30, K9, 215, or v48. They said fentanyl powder has generally appeared as white.

With a large supply continually shipped into the United States, Howell said he worried eventually what the consequences would be in Utah.

“You’ll see overdose deaths go up dramatically when that stuff comes in full swing in this area,” Howell said.

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Utah warning: counterfeit pills, drugs laced with fentanyl could cause overdose deaths