A new round of drugs laced with deadly fentanyl is causing overdoses in Kansas.
According to U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister, Wichita police have reported multiple overdoses in the past few days. They suspect the problem is caused by victims consuming what look like oxycodone pills. In fact, the pills are laced with fentanyl.
“I want to add my voice to those who are sounding a warning,” McAllister said. “Buying drugs on the street is gambling with your life.”
McAllister said his office has prosecuted multiple cases in Kansas of fentanyl disguised as other drugs, including heroin and oxycodone. Users face a higher risk of overdose because fentanyl is far more powerful and dangerous than the drugs they thought they were buying. He said often dealers themselves do not what is in the drugs they are selling.
“The problem is showing up right now in Wichita,” McAllister said. “The entire state should take notice, though. This is not a problem confined to one city.”
McAllister said fentanyl is being produced in large quantities in Mexico and distributed throughout Kansas and the rest of the nation. In an op-ed Oct. 3, 2019, in the Kansas City Star, McAllister cited a case in which the Kansas Highway Patrol stopped a vehicle in Russell County, Kan., carrying more than 60 pounds of fentanyl, potentially enough to kill millions of people.
Under federal law, distributing controlled substances resulting in the death or serious bodily injury of a user can lead to federal charges with a penalty of not less than 20 years and up to life in prison.