A "mass overdose" in a California home Saturday morning left one person dead and another 12 hospitalized after police say the victims may have ingested fentanyl, a powerful opioid. When they arrived they found one man dead and had to transport 12 people to the hospital. "That will be confirmed in the coming days with some more sophisticated testing".
Eight of the victims were admitted, and of those eight, four were listed as being in critical condition. Pacific time on Saturday at a home in Chico, said Chico Police Chief Mike O'Brien.
"As tragic as this event is, and certainly there is potential for additional fatalities - I want to emphasize that - it certainly would have been far worse without the response and dispensing of Naloxone by Chico police officers, the life-saving efforts of Chico firefighters and Butte EMS and the emergency care of course received by Enloe Hospital staff", Chico Police Chief Mike 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. "It was a large mass casualty incident for us", Chico Fire Department Chief Steve Standridge told the Mercury News.
Officers have obtained a search warrant of the house, which is now being treated as a "hazmat site".
According to The Bee, O'Brien says Chico officers began carrying naloxone (the only anti-dote to a fentanyl overdose) in 2018 but, until recently, it has been used to reverse heroin overdoses.
The victims, O'Brien said, "generally" all "knew each other", according to the Bee. O'Brien said a narcotics task force was trying to determine the source of the drugs.
Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid pain reliever, is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. "That is changing unfortunately. and now we've have this MCI (mass casualty incident)...that concerns us all".
In November, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that fentanyl was behind the increase of drug overdose deaths between 2016 and 2017.