Yellow pills reported to be the prescription opioid Percocet have sent dozens of people in central Georgia to the hospital for overdose in the past two days, 11 Alive reported. The pills were obtained illegally by those sickened.
The ingredients in the pills have yet to be identified, but they are powerful enough to require massive amounts of the opioid antidote Narcan to counter the effects. Some patients have been placed on ventilators because they stopped breathing and were unresponsive, the Georgia Department of Public Health said.
The overdoses were reported in cities such Centerville, Perry, Macon, and Warner Robins. But health department officials say the drugs were likely sold in other parts of the state as well. The health department is working closely with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and other federal agencies on the matter.
The state is already on high alert after cases of an opioid compound with the street name “gray death” were found in the Atlanta metro area. The gray powder has been linked to several overdoses and at least one death in the area. The powerful powder contains a toxic cocktail of opioid drugs like heroin and fentanyl that is more than 10,000 times more potent than morphine.
What’s even more concerning is that gray death is transdermal, meaning it can be absorbed through the skin, nose and eyes. Officers who encounter the concoction must wear lab safety gear to protect themselves before handling the drugs.
“We took it one step further, “ says Officer Deneen Kilcrease. “We now require a face mask, particle mask. We also mandate a buddy system,” to ensure that the person handling the drug is not alone in case he comes in contact with the substance.
Source: 11 Alive