‘Mass Overdose’ in California House Leaves 1 Dead, 12 in the Hospital

Cheryl Sanders
January 14, 2019

One person is dead and a dozen others were rushed to the hospital after an apparent mass fentanyl overdose in Chico, California, on Saturday morning. When they arrived they found one man dead and had to transport 12 people to the hospital.

One person died, and 14 people were taken to the hospital.

"Certainly there is potential for additional fatalities", O'Brien said.

The mass overdose appears to have been largely caused by the risky opioid fentanyl, Chico police Chief Mike O'Brien said at a news conference.

All of the people hospitalized were over 18 and most appeared to be in their 20s, Chico police commander Mike Rodden said.

O'Brien said that officers performed CPR and administered six doses of naloxone, which can reverse the effects of an overdose and comes in half-doses.

Police say they suspect the mass overdose was caused by ingestion of the opiate fentanyl in combination with another substance.

Chico Fire Department Chief Steven Standridge said the officers were "potentially exposed" to the drug, a synthetic opioid often imported on the black market from China and Mexico to be used as a filler in heroin and other street narcotics. Authorities suspect the overdoses were caused by ingestion of the unsafe drug and a separate substance that is yet to be determined.

They were treated for exposure to fentanyl or a fentanyl-like substance while they were helping the victims.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 100 times stronger than morphine.

"That is changing, unfortunately", He said, "and now we've had this mass casualty incident ... likely to have been caused by fentanyl".

Cops were reportedly called to the Chico address at around 9am and treated the overdosing victims, who were all known to each other, with opioid treatment naloxone.

The home has been deemed a hazardous materials site, and the Butte Interagency Narcotics Task Force were deployed to the scene, according to officials.

Over the past few years, Fentanyl has increasingly been responsible for overdose deaths across the United States.

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