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Flagstaff Police Report Uptick In Opioid Overdoses And Deaths

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Flagstaff Police say they’ve seen a recent uptick in overdoses and deaths related to a counterfeit opioid. The illicit pills contain fentanyl, which is blamed for thousands of deaths nationwide. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

The light-blue pills are meant to mimic the opioid painkiller Oxycodone and are stamped with the markings “M30.” According to Flagstaff Police, the drugs actually contain the synthetic opioids fentanyl and carfentanyl.

Officials say the pills are being sold individually in Flagstaff and across the state and country, and pose a significant risk to those who ingest them. According to Flagstaff Police, last Saturday alone officers responded to three suspected overdoses that may have involved the M30 pills. Two were fatal. Officials are asking anyone with information about the distribution of the pills to contact the department or Silent Witness.

Flagstaff Police say they've confirmed 19 overdoses and six deaths from opioids so far in 2020. 

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, synthetic opioids are the leading cause of overdose deaths in the state with nearly 7,000 fatalities in the last three years. Nationwide, there were more than 67,000 opioid overdose deaths in 2018 alone.

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.
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