Fentanyl found in synthetic marijuana sold in Onondaga County, according to the health department

ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The Onondaga County Health Department (OCHD) is urging extreme caution to those who may be purchasing marijuana within the county.

On Tuesday, Nov. 21, OCHD reported that there was fentanyl present in synthetic marijuana being sold in the county, and there’s been a spike in the sales of this marijuana.

“Synthetic marijuana is a chemical mixture used to mimic THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in naturally grown marijuana. The products are sold in many locations, including convenience stores and gas stations,” said the OCHD.

With that being said, the health department adds that they are illegal and have unpredictable and harmful effects.

“Synthetic marijuana products often contain harmful substances. Now that we have received reports of fentanyl in some of these products being sold locally, residents must exercise extreme caution as the substances could cause overdose or even death,” said Onondaga County Health Commissioner Dr. Kathryn Anderson. “If you witness someone experiencing an overdose, please call 911 and administer naloxone as soon as possible.”

Warning signs of a Fentanyl overdose:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Slow or shallow breathing
  • Extreme drowsiness or difficulty waking up
  • Inability to speak or be awakened
  • Blue or gray lips and nails
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Seizures

You can find synthetic marijuana in a variety of names and packaging. The products are also reportedly being marketed as naturally grown marijuana, says OCHD.

“With the noted presence of fentanyl in synthetic marijuana and other substances like cocaine and counterfeit prescription pills made to look like Xanax, Adderall, Oxycodone, etc., it is incredibly important that the public exercises caution when using substances,” said the OCHD.

OCHD urges those who use substances to test their drugs using fentanyl testing strips (FTS).

By testing with an FTS, the person using drugs can make an informed choice about their use by:

  • Potentially choosing to use a different batch
  • Using less of the current batch
  • Using in the presence of others
  • Making sure naloxone is on hand

Strips don’t identify the exact amount of fentanyl, but testing can provide enough space, time, and information for a person to consider options.

The holidays can be a time of great joy or the hardest time of the year for some people. People often turn to substance use in celebration or to cope with difficult emotions and situations such as family conflict, financial strain, loneliness, grief, and seasonal affective disorder.

Onondaga County Health Department

If you or someone in your life needs naloxone or fentanyl test strips, they are available at no cost by calling or texting OCHD’s confidential Narcan and Test Strip Request Line at 315-418-5365. Learn more about opioids and overdose prevention here.

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