Lancaster County law-enforcers are warning drug users to beware of heroin being sold in unique packaging because it is actually suspected straight fentanyl, a substance many times more lethal than heroin.
The county Drug Task Force is also seeking information on individuals selling the suspected fentanyl, packaged in distinct purple-and-white checked bags. Heroin is most commonly sold here in blue bags.
Detectives say they believe the potentially deadly substance is being distributed throughout Lancaster County and possibly beyond.
“We are not mincing words here: These particular bags can and will kill you,” Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said Wednesday. “We as law enforcement are taking a proactive approach to this specific dealing operation because of drug abusers, quite frankly, are not capable of making reasonable decisions.”
Anyone with information on individuals selling these bags is urged to contact the Drug Task Force’s tipline at 1-800-422-1380, or Lancaster City-County CrimeStoppers by calling 1-800-322-1913 or text-messaging LANCS and your tip to 847411. Tips can be made anonymously.
The still-surging opioid epidemic resulted in over 100 overdose deaths last year in Lancaster County and 2017’s numbers are expected to be even higher.
“The dealers of these bags need to be shut down as soon as possible,” Stedman said. “I have often said we need a collaborative approach to halt this epidemic. This is a call to act.”
The Drug Enforcement Administration has estimated fentanyl to be 40 to 50 times stronger than heroin sold on the streets.
Fentanyl being sold pure or cut with heroin is manufactured, not from controlled prescriptions, as is its legal purpose.