Fourteen Sacramento residents have fatally overdosed in recent weeks on
a pill disguised as a popular painkiller.
It wasn’t Norco. Fourteen people in California fatally overdosed
in recent weeks after ingesting a pill they believed to be Norco. According
to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the pills were
all mixed with the powerful opioid
Those 14 overdoses took place in the Sacramento area, but Bay Area hospitals
began to pick up on a similar trend. According to reports, Bay Area hospitals
treated seven patients who overdosed on a drug they thought was Norco.
These patients all survived.
In less than a month’s time, health officials from Sacramento County
have reported 52 Norco poisonings. Twelve of the fatalities occurred in
Sacramento County, while the other two fatal overdoses occurred in neighboring
The source of the pills is still being investigated.
The problem of fentanyl has been spreading rapidly throughout the United
States in recent years. The East Coast and Midwest in particular are known
to be areas where heroin mixed with fentanyl (as well as fentanyl disguised
as heroin) are sold. According to Casey Rettig of the DEA, fentanyl originates
in China and is trafficked into the U.S. via Mexico.
Medical toxicology professionals also noted that the pills the Bay Area
residents took contained another ingredient – promethazine. Promethazine
(common brand names: Phenergan, Phenadoz, and Promethegan) are sometimes
prescribed to treat allergies or motion sickness, but they are often taken
for the unapproved use of heightening an opioid high.