First published in the Nov. 5 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
The Burbank Police Department announced its commitment to educating the community on the dangers of fentanyl.
Fentanyl is a highly lethal synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.
The drug is intended and approved for prescription use in the United States to treat severe pain, especially after surgery or for advanced stages of cancer. Law enforcement, paramedics and medical professionals across the country have seen an uptick in fentanyl-related overdoses and death because of misuse, abuse and illegally possessed forms of the drug. Just two milligrams, or the amount that could fit on the tip of a pencil, can be deadly.
Fentanyl has been seen in a variety of bright colors, shapes and sizes, as well as made to look like prescription pills such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and alprazolam. These fake pills are pressed with markings that replicate real prescription opioid medication. They have also been found in packaging made to look like candy wrappers; however, this is typically done for the purpose of concealing the drug and a tactic used to prevent detection by law enforcement and U.S. Customs officials.
In July, Burbank police officers stopped two men in the early morning hours as they drove through town. A search of their vehicle resulted in the recovery of more than 100,000 fake oxycodone pills, which later tested positive for fentanyl.
“This arrest, just three months ago, brings the realization that fentanyl exists in our community, and we need to be aware of the dangers,” BPD officials said in a statement.
The Burbank Police Department is partnering with the Burbank Unified School District to educate staff and students on the dangers of fentanyl and the use of naloxone, a prescription medication meant to rapidly reverse an opioid overdose.
“Please remember the only safe medications are ones that come from licensed and accredited medical professionals. The Burbank Police Department reminds the community that pills purchased outside of a licensed pharmacy are illegal, dangerous and potentially deadly,” BPD officials said.