By Tara Law
January 13, 2019

A man was killed and 12 other adults were injured after overdosing on what is believed to be fentanyl on Saturday morning in California.

Emergency responders rushed to a home in Chico, Calif. after receiving a 911 call about a mass overdose at around 9 a.m., Chico Police Chief Michael O’Brien said at a press conference last night.

One person was pronounced dead on the scene, and 12 others were rushed to the nearby Enloe Hospital. All are believed to be adults between 19 and 30 years old. Of the survivors, eight are still being treated in the hospital and four were in critical condition.

“Certainly there is potential for additional fatalities,” O’Brien said.

Two police officers who had been exposed to the fentanyl were also treated at the hospital and released in “good condition,” O’Brien said.

While the substance that caused the overdose has not been tested, O’Brien said, “We have every indication that this mass overdose incident was caused from the ingestion of some form of fentanyl in combination with some other substance.”

O’Brien said that the overdose “could have been a lot worse” without a speedy emergency response. Police officers in Chico County carry Naloxone, a medicine used to reverse overdoses, which they gave to the surviving victims.

O’Brien added that while not much fentanyl has been found in Chico in the past, emergency responders in the city have been “waiting” for the drug to arrive in the city.

Over the past few years, Fentanyl has increasingly been responsible for overdose deaths across the United States. The drug is a synthetic opioid which is typically combined with heroin. The drug can be between 80 and 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.


Write to Tara Law at tara.law@time.com.

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