In April, marijuana laced with fentanyl was found in Upstate New York, according to multiple news outlets. This incident is the first time that marijuana laced with fentanyl was verified to be in the state of New York.
On April 12th, the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office reported confiscating marijuana in a Walmart parking lot. The marijuana later tested positive for containing fentanyl. In a separate incident on the previous day, police in Albany County reported finding three people who overdosed in a car. It is unclear if these incidents were related, and if the people who had overdosed had any recent exposure to the tainted marijuana.
Previous reports of fentanyl-laced marijuana were purported to be false by marijuana sellers who have a significant stake in the marijuana industry. The false reports were likely invalidated due to testing that gave false results or to contamination by dealers who handled both opioids (including fentanyl) and marijuana. This report from Upstate New York would be the first confirmed case of fentanyl-laced marijuana. The Associated Press reported that the marijuana was confirmed by the police to have been laced with fentanyl.
Marijuana is a recreational drug that can lead to addiction and serious health issues with long-term use. However, marijuana typically has a lower risk than many street drugs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is unlikely that a fatal overdose would be experienced with just marijuana. The CDC does warn, however, that harmful effects could still occur with marijuana use.
Fentanyl, however, is a powerful opioid that is 100 times stronger than morphine. Thousands of people across the country die from fentanyl overdoses each year. Fentanyl can lead to slowed breathing which can be fatal if the breathing slows enough. Fentanyl is highly addictive and could be mixed with marijuana to make a particular dealer’s mix more addictive and provide a stronger high.
Fentanyl and Marijuana
Fentanyl mixed with marijuana is very dangerous for recreational marijuana users. This mix could turn a relatively safe street drug deadly and lead to an increase in overdoses and in addictions developing. While the incidence of fentanyl-laced marijuana is still thought to be relatively low, people who are in areas where this mix has been found should be particularly careful if considering using marijuana. It remains to been seen if the combination is a new trend or if it is a localized incident.
Kearney, Brent. “Fentanyl-Laced Marijuana Could Make its Way to the Area.” WKTV News Channel 2, April 12, 2019. Accessed May 18, 2019.
Adams, Mike. “Two Reasons To Legalize Marijuana: Embalming Fluid And Fentanyl-Laced Pot On Black Market.” Forbes. April 18, 2019. Accessed May 18, 2019.
Associated Press. “Police Warn of Dangerous Street Drugs in Upstate New York.” April 12, 2019. Accessed May 18, 2019.
CDC. “Is it possible to “overdose” or have a “bad reaction” to marijuana?” March 7, 2018. Accessed May 18, 2019.