SuperTalk Mississippi

MBN: 2 overdoses tied to counterfeit drugs

Photo Courtesy of TeleSouth Communications Inc.

Authorities are investigating after two overdose deaths in Madison County have been tied to counterfeit drugs. 

According to a joint statement from the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and the Mississippi Forensics Laboratory, one death occurred in November and the other in December with two different drugs at the center of the investigations. 

In November, the MBN and Madison Police Department arrived at a Madison home where they found a man unresponsive. Officials later pronounced him dead of a suspected drug overdose.

At the scene, investigators found almost a dozen dosage units of what appeared to be Xanax, a brand of alprazolam used to treat anxiety and panic disorders, according to MBN Director John Dowdy.

Lab analysis determined the suspected Xanax was actually clonazolam. Clonazolam and a similar compound have been found in evidence submitted by investigators in north, central and south Mississippi since April 2017, according to the crime lab.

“Although chemically related to alprazolam, clonazolam is reported to be more than two times as potent as alprazolam. “According to analysts, ingesting only a half milligram of clonazolam can lead to amnesia and/or loss of consciousness,” Director Dowdy said.

In December, the MBN and Ridgeland Police Department responded to a Ridgeland home where they once again found a man dead from an overdose. 

At the scene, investigators found several dosage units of what appeared to be oxycodone hydrochloride, an opioid analgesic.

Lab analysis determined the suspected oxycodone hydrochloride was actually carfentanil.

“Carfentanil, a fentanyl analogue, is 10,000 times more potent than morphine, 100 times more potent than fentanyl and intended for the treatment of large animals,” Director Dowdy said.

“As in previous alerts, I want to remind everybody to not take any kind of drug that is not obtained from a pharmacy,” Director Dowdy said. “The consequences of using non-prescribed medication could result in death.”

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