Street pills that look like oxycodone or OxyContin that are currently circulating in Okanogan County contain a potentially deadly amount of fentanyl. “These pills that look like oxy are fake and can kill you,” warned Okanogan County Public Health and Family Health Centers (FHC).
Any oxycodone or OxyContin pills purchased without a prescription generally contain fentanyl. These illicit pills, known as “Mexis,” “M30s” or “Blues,” can look the same as “oxy” opioid pills, heroin, or even meth, according to Public Health.
In the past two weeks, several FHC patients seeking help for opioid misuse tested negative for opioids, but they tested positive for fentanyl. Fentanyl is up to 100 times more potent than heroin, substantially increasing the risk of a fatal overdose. These people thought they were taking “oxy” or “Mexis,” not fentanyl, Public Health said.
If someone has overdosed on fentanyl, it can require multiple doses of the overdose-reversal medication naloxone (also known as Narcan) to revive them, and this intervention is not always successful. Many people have died and those who survive often have permanent brain damage, Public Health said.
Public Health and FHC recommend that anyone using illicit substances follow these guidelines for safer use:
• carry naloxone/Narcan and make sure friends and family know how to use it.
• never use alone.
• test your supply before use with fentanyl test strips, which are available for free through Public Health or the Community Overdose Prevention Education (COPE) project (see box).
How to get help
• Mental health care of treatment for substance-use disorder: Call Okanogan Behavioral Healthcare at (509) 826-6191 or visit www.okbhc.org.
• Overdose prevention/reversal: For information or to get naloxone/Narcan or fentanyl test strips, go to www.okcope.org, call or text Victor Mendez at (509) 588-7925, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Medication for opioid-use disorder: To get connected to medication for opioid-use disorder such as buprenorphine (‘Suboxone’) or Vivitrol, call or text the Opioid Treatment Network at (509) 322-5971.
• Other resources: Okanogan County Public Health can get you Narcan, test strips and sterile syringes. They can also refer you to treatment. Call (509) 422-7140.