MARTINSVILLE – The Martinsville Police Department has noticed a drastic spike in substance abuse overdoses lately. We fully investigate every overdose case in attempts to stop the spread of harm. While we continue to do so, the Martinsville Police Department would like to spread a word of caution about what is occurring. We attribute the vast majority of these overdose cases to the drug Fentanyl. Fentanyl is an opioid, like morphine, codeine, oxycodone and methadone. Fentanyl is much stronger than most other opioids—up to 100 times stronger than morphine—and is very dangerous. Even a small trace amount can cause an overdose and lead to death. Fentanyl may be swallowed, smoked, snorted or injected. Fentanyl can also be found in prescription pain patches that can be abused by smoking or chewing. Most of the Fentanyl we are encountering has been produced illegally. One of the frightening concerns these of these overdoses that we are seeing, is specifically where we are finding the drug. Fentanyl is being used to cut, mix or lace other drugs such as illegally sold prescription pills, cocaine, crack, and heroin. Many overdoses are occurring because people are not aware that the drug they are using is laced with Fentanyl.
The symptoms of Fentanyl overdoses are similar to all opioids. Fentanyl overwhelms the central nervous system, essentially clogging the pathways that control respiration and cardiac function. Extremely shallow or slow breathing is the most telling signs of a fentanyl overdose. Other symptoms include dizziness, confusion, sleepiness, pinpoint pupils, lethargy, slow heart rate, low blood pressure, blue colored lips and fingernails, unconsciousness or coma. If someone you know is exhibiting these symptoms as a result of substance abuse overdose, it is critical to seek medical help immediately.
If you should encounter an unknown drug or substance please contact the Martinsville Police Department immediately by calling 911, (276) 638-8751 or if you wish to give information anonymously you may use Crime Stoppers at 276-63-CRIME [276-632-7463].