The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) State Health Laboratories has identified a new packaging, in pill form, of the synthetic drug, acetyl fentanyl. The State Lab identified the substance in pills brought in for testing to be acetyl fentanyl, the synthetic opiate identified by the Lab earlier this year that was related to 14 deaths investigated by the Office of State Medical Examiners. Acetyl Fentanyl is an illicit synthetic opiate, that is not FDA approved, is not commercially available, and is not prescribed by physicians in any form.
This finding is not related to prescription oxycodone. There is no danger to people who are prescribed oxycodone by their doctors and receiving their pills from a licensed pharmacy, hospital, or other healthcare facility.
"Earlier this year we identified this lethal, illicit street drug in an injectable form. We now know that it is still in Rhode Island, yet in the form of a pill that has been packaged to look like oxycodone," said Michael Fine, M.D. director of HEALTH. "With an average of four people dying per week due to drug overdoses, we need the people of Rhode Island to know what dangers are out on our streets. People who may think they are buying oxycodone on the street could actually be buying something that we know has already taken the lives of 14 people in Rhode Island."
Addiction is a chronic disease, but there is help available to those who suffer from addiction.
Those who are addicted to drugs or who know someone who is addicted should educate themselves about the use of Narcan (Naloxone), an emergency antidote to opioid overdose. Narcan, which can be used in an emergency situation to potentially reverse the effects of drug overdose, is available at four Walgreens Pharmacies in Warwick as part of a pilot project for the dispensing of Naloxone to patients by pharmacists who have a collaborative agreement with practitioners at the Miriam Hospital.