SEATTLE – Two Sammamish teenagers who died from fentanyl-laced opiates were just the latest in a spiking trend of overdoses across King County, health officials said Wednesday.
Deaths involving fentanyl, a synthetic drug 50 times more powerful than heroin, have rapidly climbed in King County for the last three years.
Public Health Seattle & King County reported 66 deaths in 2018 compared to 23 deaths in 2016. Health officials added the county is on track to surpass last year’s count with 63 people dying in 2019 so far and numerous cases still under investigation.
The teens were both students at Skyline High School. One student died on August 11 while 16-year-old Lucas Beirer overdosed just this Monday.
King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht warned of counterfeit OxyContin pills which are becoming more common on the street.
“The vast majority of M30 or other oxycodone pills purchased on the street in King County or elsewhere are likely counterfeit,” Johanknecht explained. ”And likely contain deadly amounts of fentanyl.”
The counterfeit pills can be found in blue, white, light green and are all marked with “M30,” according to the sheriff’s department.
The Issaquah School District says it will work with authorities and community leaders to educate its students about the dangers of fentanyl.
“Our hearts ache for our students and school communities that have been and continue to be impacted by the devastating effects of opiates,” the district said in a press release. “We know that the opiate crisis will not be fixed overnight but, within days to weeks, we commit to deeper and broader partnerships with our Mayors and City Councils, as well as with local law enforcement agencies.”