OXFORD • A widely circulated Facebook post about overdoses and deaths caused by synthetic drugs drew a response Wednesday from Oxford Police Chief Jeff McCutchen.

The social media post was purportedly copied from a closed Ole Miss group and pasted in a public post. It says there are “dirty drugs” laced with synthetic opioids that are causing kids to overdose at the rate of two to three per week.

“Our office was notified (Monday) about a post that was circulating social media that referenced narcotics in Oxford,” McCutchen said. “In 2020, our agency has responded to 11 narcotic overdoses. Of those overdoses, two were fatal.

“The Lafayette County Metro Narcotics unit works closely with the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and the Drug Enforcement Agency to investigate and trace these events.”

The social media post said kids trying to buy Ecstasy or cocaine are getting much more potent drugs, often cut or laced with synthetic opioids. The post even mentioned marijuana being sprayed with synthetic drugs.

McCutchen agreed that some drugs on the street are not what that are reported to be. Many times, the drugs are coming from other states or outside the country and contain fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 100 times more potent that heroin.

“We know that many people are accessing drugs through the darknet and receiving narcotics through the mail,” McCutchen said. “When drugs are accessed through these means, we know two things happen: the user does not know what they are getting or where it is coming from. (It also) diminishes law enforcement’s ability to track and locate the source.”

Recent field tests by the narcotics unit have shown that street-level drugs in Oxford and Lafayette County had traces of fentanyl. The human body can only withstand a small microgram dose of fentanyl, so any drug laced with it can be deadly.

Mississippi’s Good Samaritan Law protects people from prosecution when they call 911 for themselves or a friend when medical attention is requested. Medical personnel usually have medication that can rapidly reverse an opioid overdose, if administered promptly.

william.moore@journalinc.com

Twitter:@WilliamMoore_DJ

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