Toxicology reports reveal the deadly drug combinations in St. Joseph County

Toxicology reports reveal the deadly drug combinations in St. Joseph County. //WSBT 22 Photo.

So far in 2018, eight people in St. Joseph County have died of a drug overdose.

Six of those people had fentanyl in their system. Fentanyl is becoming a part of a lethal combination.

More detailed toxicology reports are revealing drug overdoses are more than just an opioid problem.

57 people died of a drug overdose in St. Joseph County in 2017.

On average each person had 4 different substances in their system, 46% included Fentanyl.

An amount as small as a grain of sand can make your time run out.

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is 100 times more powerful than morphine.

Commander Dave Wells of the St. Joseph County Drug Investigations Unit says for drug dealers, fentanyl is a way to stretch their dollar.

"When they cut their heroin, typically, or their methamphetamine, they string it out so they get a bigger product using the fentanyl, and they know that it's a good high. The problem with that is, they take the risk of becoming a part of somebody's death," said Wells.

The drug is most commonly found mixed with heroin, but can now be mixed with almost anything.

"I'm reading stories about marijuana now being laced with fentanyl. You just never know. It's just kind of like putting a bullet in a revolver and spinning it, and hoping it doesn't go off," said Wells. "In a one week time frame, you will have seven overdoses in this community. One of those people in that seven days will die of an overdose."

Of the overdose deaths in 2017, 14% of the toxicology reports revealed both methamphetamine and fentanyl in the person's system.

7% had both cocaine and fentanyl.

It's impossible to know if they intended to take that lethal mix.

"You never quite know exactly what you're going to get. How much do you trust your dealer? These people are not chemists. They're not pharmacists," said deputy prosecutor Amy Cressy. "They very often are not addicts, so they're not sampling their own supply. You're trusting somebody with absolutely no knowledge at all with something that you're going to ingest, and you're trusting that that's not going to kill you."

The St. Joseph Drug Investigations Unit specifically focuses on cracking down on dealers that use fentanyl in their products.

The good news is that overdose deaths in the county were down in 2017.

The unit says the new detailed toxicology reports help them better attack the problem

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