On September 5, 2022, Coalinga Police Officers responded to an alarm at a local business. While investigating the call, officers contacted 24-year-old Coalinga resident, Arturo Padilla, in the immediate area.
Padilla was found to have two active warrants for his arrest and was taken into custody without incident. While conducting an inventory of Padilla’s property, a black canister was found in his pocket and found to contain 4 blue colored pills with the marking “M” on them. A methamphetamine smoking pipe was also found hidden in his waistband. The pills were later sent off to the lab for testing and were discovered to be fentanyl.
On September 15, 2022, officers conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle for a mechanical violation. During the stop, a backpack in the vehicle was checked and found to contain, amongst other things, two plastic baggies. One bag contained a white powdery substance believed to be Heroin and the other plastic bag contained over 20 square, blue colored pills with the marking “M30” on them. The pills were sent off for testing and were discovered to be fentanyl.
Fentanyl is a synthetic, (man-made) opiate that can easily be produced in a lab or on the streets. It is less expensive than other opiates and is highly addictive. Fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. One kilogram of fentanyl has the potential to kill 500,000 people.
Deadly amounts of fentanyl are being used in manufacturing and packaging of other drugs as well. Fentanyl is being added to counterfeit pills being misrepresented as Xanax and/or Oxycodone. According to the CDC, synthetic opioids (like fentanyl) are the primary driver of overdose deaths in the United States. Comparison between 12 months-ending January 31, 2020 and the 12 months-ending January 31, 2021 during this period:
• Overdose deaths involving opioids rose 38.1 percent.
• Overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids (primarily illicitly manufactured fentanyl) rose 55.6 percent and appear to be the primary driver of the increase in total drug overdose deaths.
Unless a drug is prescribed by a licensed medical professional and dispensed by a legitimate pharmacy, you can’t know if it’s fake or legitimate. And without laboratory testing, there’s no way to know the amount of fentanyl in an individual pill or how much may have been added to another drug. This is especially dangerous because of fentanyl’s potency.