People who "just do a little coke now and then" are dying because it isn't just cocaine—it's now being mixed with deadly opiates.
By Foster Winans (Patch Poster) - April 17, 2017 10:47 pm ET
This week we learned that Richard J. Heller, a 33-year-old Bucks native who had become a talented chef and caterer in Philadelphia, was found dead in the apartment of a companion, also dead, who the city Medical Examiner said had in her system a mixture of cocaine, fentanyl (a powerful sedative), and morphine that was likely inhaled in powder form. There was no evidence of needle use. This struck many people as odd, even improbable.
[UPDATE: An individual who sold what he said was cocaine to Richard's companion, Meredith Hope, has been arrested and charged with the murder of both.]
They asked, How does someone get access to morphine? Why would anyone mix these three drugs? Can you actually overdose by snorting?
The answers are terrifying. It appears, according to this article on the US News and World Report site, that whoever makes, blends, or cuts cocaine is adding fentanyl, morphine, and perhaps other substances that produce a deadly mix that buyers and users think is "just coke." So anyone who says they "just do a little coke now and then" may get unlucky one day and end up a statistic, either misreported or misunderstood to be "just another heroin OD."
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Yes, you can overdose by snorting. A former Emergency Medical Technician we know assures us that after ten years experience dealing with overdoses that snorting the wrong stuff can definitely kill you and you don't have to be a career addict to become a victim. Why a drug merchant/dealer would mix these substances is unclear but the answer is usually to produce a higher high or cut the cost of manufacturing. Who cares?
The US News report has a graph showing that deaths from "cocaine" have soared in the past couple of years, and really spiked in the past year. Maybe it's not just cocaine.
If you know someone whose lifestyle or career intersects with casual drug use, do them a favor and tell them to tell their friends, It's no longer "just a little coke now and then." It might be the last breath they ever take. You might save a life or two.
ALSO, in Pennsylvania it's now possible for any member of the public to get Naloxone, the medication that saves the lives of people who have been poisoned, without a prescription. In other words, you can have this life-saving drug—which can be administered very easily—in your medicine cabinet just in case. Anyone can download and print the standing prescription here, including instructions for use.