An increase in overdoses may be due to ‘smurf dope’

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Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 6:45 PM EDT
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PERRY COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) -Law enforcement and health officials are seeing an uptick in overdoses and it could be due to a drug making its way to Eastern Kentucky known as ‘smurf dope’.

“It has vibrant blue color. Either methamphetamine or heroin that has been laced with fentanyl. Perhaps not just fentanyl but carfentanil,” said Brad Brewer, a Harm Reduction Specialist with the Kentucky River District Health Department.

Fentanyl is one hundred times stronger than morphine.

“Someone who has a tolerance to opioids can most likely touch it and even that can result in an overdose,” said Brewer.

Starting in northern and western Kentucky, ”It has been out for some time, but it is new to our area,” he said. “Lee County over the weekend there had been six overdoses.”

Law enforcement like Deputy Chief James East with the Hazard Police Department calls them ‘pipeline drugs'.

“The type of drugs that are coming in now they are not really making them locally they are being brought in from different locations. You can tell when someone brings it in locally because will have I mean 8 to 10 to 20 overdoses within a very short period of time,” said East.

Traveling from metropolitan areas such as Lexington and Louisville, making their way to the mountains.

As the number of overdoses increases, so does the use and availability of Narcan or Naloxone kits.

" Local health departments provide Narcan. Narcan is a nasal spray formulation of Naloxone which is an anti-opioid overdose medicine. Whenever it is administered it is done so intranasally it can bring someone out of an opioid overdose,” said Brewer.

Although there is no time to waste.

”If you notice the signs of an overdose such as the beginning of the loss of consciousness, slurred speech, its sleepiness it is very important to be on the ready then to administer. You want to administer it up one of their nostrils and then if they have not revived in five minutes then administer it up the other,” he says.

Speaking with law enforcement in Perry County, ‘smurf dope’ has not completely made its way to the county but another drug similar to it has, ‘gray death'.

“Gray death is a mixture of heroin and fentanyl it’s extremely deadly,” said East.

Unable to trace it specifically back to where it came from usually catching the user instead of the dealer.

“It is with what we call the end-user or the last line user we have got investigations open going above the user,” East said. Unable to give details about ongoing investigations.

“Hopefully something not here to stay because we could be looking at a lot of fatalities,” said Brewer.

Nonetheless prepared for any situation, “If they can be brought back, they are being brought back,” said East.

Hoping these drugs are not here to stay.

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