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Arizona poison centers warn of high levels of fentanyl found in illicit cocaine

PHOENIX (Mar. 7, 2023) - The Arizona poison system, part of the Center for Toxicology & Pharmacology Education and Research (CTPER) at the University of Arizona College of Medicine Phoenix, and Arizona Public Health and Safety Agencies are warning all Arizona healthcare providers about the risks of illicit drugs, specifically cocaine, being contaminated with high concentrations of fentanyl. There has been a cluster of recent cases, including one known fatality, regarding exposure to this illicit substance. 

“Fentanyl is assumed to be in almost all illicit drugs in the community,” said Maureen Roland, RN, director of the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center. “However, we are now starting to see higher concentrations of fentanyl, requiring aggressive measures such as multiple doses of naloxone or naloxone infusions, to treat and save these patients.”

“While fentanyl contamination in other drugs isn’t new, anytime a new cluster of overdoses occur, we need to make sure our communities are aware and on heightened alert,” said Steve Dudley, PharmD, DABAT, Director of the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center. “We want to make sure unsuspecting individuals are aware as they are not expecting nor prepared to be exposed to fentanyl.”

To our healthcare and laboratory partners, when you detect fentanyl in a patient, pill, or forensic sample, please report these results to the Arizona Poison System by calling 1-800-222-1222, 24/7/365. Poison center staff can assist in the evaluation and management of all poisoning-related injuries and illnesses, including cocaine, fentanyl, and other illicit drugs, as well a prescription medications and occupational/environmental exposures.

If you have any questions about these or other medications, including strengths, dosage, and administration, call the poison centers 24/7 at 1-800-222-1222 to speak with a registered nurse or pharmacist.  

About the Arizona Poison Centers
The poison and drug information centers at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy in Tucson and at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix provide free and confidential poison control and medication information to the public and healthcare professionals. The hotlines operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The two centers serve all of Arizona and are part of 55 centers across the nation that are accredited by American Association of Poison Control Centers. Call (800) 222-1222 from any location to reach the poison center nearest you.
Banner Health Poison

For further information contact us at: [email protected]