Four people have died after overdosing on a painkiller commonly used to treat cancer patients.
You can legally get it only by prescription, but these days, Fentanyl is winding up in the wrong hands. Mike Marbert, a special agent for the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, says "It is more and more popular on the street. More people want it because it's a pharmaceutical grade of heroin."
In fact it's wanted in Aiken County where four people have reportedly died by overdosing on the drug. Pharmacist Kyle Pulliam fills ten to fifteen prescriptions of Fentanyl a week and he knows this is strong stuff. "Morphine, Oxycondone, Percocet is a brand name of those."
According to the Aiken Standard, those who died either injected or inhaled the gel inside a transdermal patch. D.E.A. agent Mike Marbert says "the patches are popular because they're real potent and they'll open 'em up, take out the gel inside and then heat it up and then inject it like heroin." Kyle Pulliam says "they actually call it chicklets or something like that. I've heard of people going through trash cans and digging that out and cutting it up and using it and squeezing out the contents to inject or whatever."
That's why the Drug Enforcement Agency is concerned Fentanyl is fast becoming a street drug... though special agent Marbert had no idea it was a problem in Aiken County. He blames those eager to experiment with a drug cheaper than heroin. "Heroin in augusta is very expensive so that may be why they're looking for alternative sources of heroin which that's what this would be." An alternative just as dangerous and in this case just as deadly.
The Aiken County coroner was unavailable for comment but we will have more information for you Friday, including the names of those four who died. We can tell you Fentanyl is commonly stolen from drug stores, nursing homes and other long-term care facilitiies.