UPDATE April 5, 2016:
The Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services says, as of Monday there have been 42 overdoses reported related to fentanyl.
The department says 10 deaths are suspected to be related to the drug: Nine in Sacramento County and one death in Yolo County.
Health officials are urging people to stop taking prescription-type pills that are not prescribed by and obtained from one’s own physician and/or pharmacy.
Original April 1, 2016:
The Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services says there have been 36 fentanyl overdoses -- including nine deaths in the past two weeks.
Dr. Olivia Kasirye is the Sacramento County Health Officer. Kasirye says most of the people thought they were taking the prescription pain killer Norco. But, they bought the pills illegally. They contain fentanyl, which is a much stronger drug.
"Some of them said they had a regular prescription for Norco but they ran out, so they decided to just take pills from someone else. Others, a few of them, did tell us they took the pills to get high."
The public health department is encouraging people to stop taking prescription-type pills that are not prescribed by and obtained from one’s own physician and/or pharmacy.
Kasirye says if you are unable to stop taking Norco or other painkillers, you should seek addiction treatment immediately.
Symptoms of opioid overdose include: unconsciousness or unresponsiveness, trouble breathing or cessation of breathing, bluish discoloration of the skin, vomiting and pinpoint pupils.
The Drug Enforcement Agency and the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department are investigating.