BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A dangerous new trend is concerning Brown County drug investigators: people mixing the potent narcotic fentanyl with other drugs.
Fentanyl patch packages from several german generic drug manufacturers, Photo Date: 11/5/2009 (MGN)
The Brown County Drug Task Force has received warnings from other agencies that fentanyl, a pain reliever 50 times stronger than heroin, is making its way into the hands of unsuspecting people.
"We're concerned about it. About six months ago, because it was appearing in Chicago and in Milwaukee, and we typically see all of our heroin sourced through those cities," says Lt. Kevin Kinnard, Brown County Drug Task Force.
Lt. Kinnard says fentanyl is being mixed, sold, and used with other illegal drugs.
It's often mixed with heroin without the user's knowledge. Because of the drug's potency, it often results in overdoses.
Agencies in Chicago and Milwaukee, two cities that typically funnel drugs into Northeast Wisconsin, are seeing fentanyl mixed with meth, cocaine, and marijuana.
Lt. Kinnard says it's only a matter of time before it is sold that way in Northeast Wisconsin, if not already.
The drugs are never mixed the same way twice, so it is impossible to know how the body is going to react. Heroin and fentanyl are depressants. Cocaine and meth do the opposite.
"Rarely in the past, I've never seen where you mix a stimulant and a depressant together because they should theoretically counteract each other, but it just depends on what your tolerance level is to drugs," Lt. Kinnard says.
The Drug Task Force showed Action 2 News reports form the Wisconsin State Crime Lab about fentanyl-related cases they've had this year.
"One is straight fentanyl, a case we worked with the state and DEA where they were shipping out pure fentanyl from a source in Pennsylvania and it was going all over the state, and we just happened to be one of the cities where it was being mailed to," said Lt. Kinnard.
The lieutenant says it's not a matter of "if" but "when" in Northeast Wisconsin.
"We'll see it. Absolutely we'll have it in a report at some point," Kinnard says.