Seminole County sheriff explains how over-the-counter Narcan can help reverse opioid overdoses

6 out of every 10 pills on street contain lethal dose of fentanyl, DEA says

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Food and Drug Administration recently announced a life-saving drug that can reverse an opioid overdose will be available on pharmacy shelves without a prescription.

Experts say making Narcan available over the counter is a critical step in managing the ongoing epidemic, which claimed the lives of more than 80,000 Americans in 2021.

Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma joined anchor Justin Warmoth on “The Weekly” to discuss the FDA’s move and why taking illicit street drugs is like playing Russian roulette due to the prevalence of fentanyl.

“Just last month, I was having a conversation with DEA administrator Anne Milgram, and she shared with me that six out of every 10 pills that are on the street contain a lethal dose of fentanyl,” Lemma said. “That’s incredibly frightening, and we’re seeing it in the numbers. What we’re seeing on the streets now is fentanyl mixed in all types of substances without the user actually knowing, and in many cases they’re going unconscious nearly immediately.”

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Last week, the Biden administration declared fentanyl combined with xylazine — an animal tranquilizer that’s increasingly being used in illicit drugs — is an “emerging threat” facing the U.S.

Xylazine, also known as tranq, has been linked to a number of overdose deaths in every state. The DEA says the tranquilizer can extend the duration of the high when combined with the fast-acting fentanyl.

Watch the full interview in the video player above.

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About the Author:

Justin Warmoth joined News 6 in 2013 and is now a morning news anchor.