Connecticut Department of Public Health warns of fentanyl-laced marijuana spike


Graphic by Giselle Oldani '22

The Connecticut Department of Public Health reported 11 fentanyl-laced marijuana overdose cases in July, nine in August, nine in September and 10 in October. The cases occurred all over Connecticut with no apparent pattern. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, just two milligrams of fentanyl can be a lethal dose.

Officials from the Connecticut Overdose Response Strategy and the Department of Public Health issued a warning last week concerning a rise in marijuana laced with fentanyl. In the past four months, the Connecticut Department of Public Health reported 39 cases where overdose patients, who stated they had only used marijuana, exhibited opioid overdose symptoms and needed naloxone, a medicine used to treat narcotic overdose in emergency situations, for revival.

“It’s getting dangerous,” School Resource Officer Ed Wooldridge said.“You have to be careful where you’re buying [marijuana] if you’re going to buy it [and make sure] you trust who it is that you’re getting it from.”

The Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory confirmed fentanyl in a marijuana sample collected by the Plymouth Police Department at an overdose site. This is the first lab-confirmed case of fentanyl mixed with marijuana in Connecticut. 

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid similar to morphine but 50 to 100 times more potent, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The drug is typically used to treat patients with chronic pain, especially after surgery. The effects of fentanyl include extreme happiness, nausea, confusion, breathing problems and unconsciousness. 

The Connecticut Overdose Response Strategy (CT ORS) advises all who will continue to use recreationally to educate themselves on the signs of an overdose and have naloxone on hand. The CT ORS additionally warns that fatal and non-fatal overdoses will most likely continue to increase due to the instability of the illegal drug market. 

“The situation is scary,” Natasha Taubenheim ’22 said. “People don’t know what they’re putting in their bodies.”