The Drug Enforcement Agency in Miami is warning Floridians about deadly contaminated cocaine that has become widespread throughout the state.
Forensic chemists discovered the opioid fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances in more than 180 samples of cocaine seized by law enforcement dating back to last year, according to a DEA news release.
Fentanyl is approximately 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and carries a high risk of overdose and can be lethal at the 2-milligram range, officials said.
Officials say drug dealers are mixing fentanyl into cocaine to increase the drug’s potency or profitability, or it's inadvertently mixed into cocaine by dealers using the same blending equipment to cut various types of drugs, such as heroin.
The mixture poses a deadly danger to anyone who uses cocaine but people who use cocaine occasionally are at an extremely high risk of overdose, officials said.
Cocaine caused more deaths than any other drug in Florida in 2016, and cocaine-related deaths have more than doubled over the past four years, coinciding with a steady rise in cocaine production in Colombia and increasing drug flow through the Caribbean corridor, officials said.
Miami-Dade County averaged roughly 36 cocaine-related fatalities per month in 2016. At least 84 died with both cocaine and carfentanil in their system.