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Opioid adulterants now affecting cocaine supply

December 18, 2017

Officials with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) last week issued information that likely will increase worry over the re-emergence of cocaine in Florida and elsewhere. The DEA's Miami Field Division reported that more than 180 samples of seized cocaine in the state over the past two years were found to be contaminated with opioids.

This finding, reported by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and other news outlets, raises concerns because the possible presence of fentanyl or carfentanil in the cocaine supply could lead to more cocaine-involved deaths. The DEA office reported that Miami-Dade County had the highest number of samples in which cocaine was cut with synthetic opioids (69 samples).

These data also complicate the notion of discrete drug crises, pointing more to the overlap among drug problems affecting the using population.

Nova Southeastern University epidemiologist Jim Hall said the presence of opioid adulterants also has begun to affect the methamphetamine supply. Fentanyl was found in the system of seven overdose deaths attributed to methamphetamine in Broward County last year, Hall reported, and those deaths likely were caused by adulterated drugs.

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