Dear NYE partiers: Bay Area cocaine may be laced with deadly fentanyl

Published 10:45 am PST, Tuesday, December 31, 2019

We’re not here to judge whatever New Year’s Eve choices you make tonight. But in the interest of your personal safety, you might want to avoid cocaine this evening.

The weekend before Christmas, Aaron Hall and Jamez Manning, two young men in the Oakland music scene, died from overdosing on what was likely cocaine laced with fentanyl, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. In the past three months, Oakland paramedics told the Chronicle they have responded to a growing number of ambulance calls for overdoses.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that we’ve got fentanyl-laced pills and other items that are pretty much prevalent throughout the Bay Area,” Mike Sena, the executive director of the Northern California High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, told the Chronicle.

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Overdose deaths in San Francisco from fentanyl increased by nearly 150 percent last year, according to the city’s Public Health Department.

The drug, a synthetic opioid that is 40 times stronger than heroin, has led to the deaths of several celebrities over the past few years as well, including Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, rapper Mac Miller, Lil Peep and Prince.

Carrying Narcan can help prevent an overdose death, and using drug-testing kits before consumption can also help to avoid a tragedy. But the safest option? Stay away from cocaine altogether in the Bay Area this New Year’s Eve.

Madeline Wells is an SFGATE associate digital reporter. Email: | Twitter: @madwells22

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