Deadly Drug Cocktail Leads to Overdoses Across the U.S.

( – A new drug may be on its way onto San Francisco streets, according to a city supervisor who is sounding the alarm and urging the city to start testing for the opioid he says has caused hundreds of overdose deaths in cities throughout the nation.

As if fentanyl itself wasn’t bad enough, claiming over 600 lives in 2023 across San Francisco, the city now faces a potential spike in batches laced with a new drug that may lead to substantially more deaths on top of the 600+ lives taken by fentanyl in 2023. Unless something is done about it, San Francisco Supervisor Matt Dorsey believes the consequences will be devastating

The drug is called medetomidine, and Dorsey said it’s popping up in the fentanyl drug supply in Chicago, Indianapolis, and Philadelphia, as well as in Canada in cities like Vancouver and Toronto. He noted that the substance is used as an animal tranquilizer and that it’s “very potent and dangerous.”

On Monday, May 20th, The Center for Forensic Science Research & Education (CFSRE) issued an alert about the compound, stating that the purpose of the announcement was “to notify health, harm reduction, first responders, clinicians, medical examiners and coroners, forensic and clinical laboratories, and all other related communities” about the latest information related to the drug.

Dorsey sent a letter urging the San Francisco Public Health Department and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to add medetomidine to the list of hundreds of other drugs tested annually. He said he’s giving the city a chance to respond and wanted to “make sure” San Francisco was “ready for this.” Dorsey then noted that within the last month, more than 600 people were hospitalized from fentanyl that had been laced with the drug in a period of “three to four days.”

Dr. Daniel Ciccarone of UCSF, who has spent decades studying the drugs, said the biggest concern over the combination of medetomidine and fentanyl is a double-sedating effect, which he said greatly increases the risk of overdose and death.

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