The DEA warned in April that agents were seeing the deadliest strain yet, hitting the streets back. It did not stop people from buying heroin and we saw a spike in deaths.
St. Louis police have reported finding much of the heroin mixed with fentanyl, which is a synthetic opioid intended for cancer patients.
DEA Special Agent in Charge James Shroba warned on April 8 that his agents were seeing drug traffickers tweaking the chemical compound of fentanyl.
“Hundreds—if not thousands—of times more potent than heroin or other opioids; this will, there will certainly be tragic consequences with these,” Shroba said.
Right after he said that, St. Louis had its worst month this year, with 24 accidental heroin deaths. So far this the year, the total number of heroin overdose deaths has reached 121. The city saw 136 heroin overdose deaths in 2015.
Meanwhile, St. Louis County has already equaled last year’s total, with 26 overdose deaths to date.
As an example of how deadly fentanyl can be, the DEA said an amount the size of a sugar packet could contain one thousand fatal doses.