2017 file photo, a reporter holds up an example of the amount of fentanyl that can be deadly after a news conference about deaths from fentanyl exposure, at The Drug Enforcement Administration headquarters in Arlington, Va. The House dove Tuesday, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, into a two-week vote-a-thon on dozens of bills aimed at opioid abuse, as lawmakers try to tackle a crisis that’s killing tens of thousands a year and to score a popular win they can tout for the midterm elections. A handful of the measures are contentious, including one Republican bill that would create new criminal penalties for making or trafficking certain synthetic drugs containing fentanyl. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

A drug combination discovered to be deadly has claimed the lives of 22 people since 2017, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation claims.

The GBI says the agency is worried the number will rise, as 22 people in Georgia have died because of mixed drug use – a trend different than users selecting only one drug of choice.

The deaths are spawning from a combination of fentanyl, an opiod, and heroin are mixed or when the fentanyl is put in counterfeit painkiller pills. But now, cocaine is being mixed with the drugs and it isn’t just in Atlanta. GBI labs around Georgia have yielded the same result: a deadly combination.

WSBtv reports:

“There are no rules for people who are manufacturing these substances and they can put anything they want to in any white powder that’s bought on the street,” said Deneen Kilcrease, with the GBI Crime Lab.

“The trend of adding fentanyl to any other drug. The drug on its own (is) terrible, but this is extremely troubling trend that we would like to see end,” Nelly Miles, with the GBI, said.

Miles said the GBI’s medical examiner office completed lab reports in 2017 for 17 overdose deaths in counties across Georgia in which cocaine and fentanyl were the only two drugs that turned up in blood work.

Even more alarming in the continued presence of combination drugs. The GBI says the numbers more than double if you consider when cocain, fentanyl, and at least on other drug are found in bloodwork of the deceased. And, of course, these numbers only include those that are reported or classified properly.

Law enforcement agencies say the extent of the problem remains unknown, as bloodwork does not describe if the drugs were taken at the same time, mixed together, or simply taken within a few hours of each other.

A deep dive into fentanyl use in southeast Georgia also underway.

 

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