U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer issued a public safety alert for drug users in San Diego County to beware of a lethal strain of fentanyl showing up in counterfeit oxycodone.
Last week, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department issued a warning after four overdoes in a 24-hour span were linked to pills known on the streets as “Blues” and “M-30s”.
The pills are blue and round and have the letter M inside a square on one side and the number 30 on the other. They can be taken orally or they can be crushed and smoked.
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The U.S. Attorney’s Office said border seizures, prosecutions and overdoses in San Diego County are on pace to reach all-time highs by the end of 2019. The Medical Examiner’s Office reports 50 confirmed fentanyl-related fatal overdoses so far this year, and says 28 more suspected cases are waiting to be confirmed.
If the current rate continues, the U.S. Attorney’s Office says there will be 130 fentanyl overdoses in the county by the end of the year -- a 47-percent increase over 2018 and a 787-percent increase compared to five years ago.
“Your dealer, BFF, lover, or classmate may become your murderer and the medical examiner may become your personal physician,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Karen Flowers. “Life is precious. Don’t gamble yours away for a quick high that sends you home from the party in a body bag.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, Homeland Security Investigations agents and other federal authorities have seized 1,175 pounds of fentanyl at and near the U.S.-Mexico border this year, and have confiscated a record number of pills labeled “M-30” containing fentanyl.
Fentanyl is 30 to 50 times more powerful than heroin and, in its purest form, can be lethal to the touch, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Law enforcement agencies are reporting the street price for fentanyl is declining, meaning the deadly drug is becoming more easily attainable.
Anyone who obtains suspicious counterfeit blue pills labeled “M-30” are encouraged to dispose of them safely with the San Diego County Perscription Drug Task Force.
People who need help with mental health including substance use disorder, suicide prevention, medication needs, and more can call the San Diego County Crisis line at 888-724-7240. It’s open seven days a week, 24 hours a day.