Authorities warn of spike in Fentanyl-related overdose deaths in metro Atlanta

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A wave of Fentanyl-laced overdose deaths have plagued the suburbs and Gwinnett County in the past few weeks.

Channel 2′s Tony Thomas talked to federal drug agents about why they think they are seeing an increase in overdoses in the area.

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Chuvalo Truesdale with the DEA said agents noticed a few years ago that there was more of the synthetic drug from China and Mexico on the streets.

Fentanyl can be deadly at a dose the size of a pencil-point and is sometimes mixed into other pills that are marketed as prescription drugs.


“With counterfeit pills , we are seeing one in four of the counterfeit pills could contain lethal doses,” Truesdale said.

Dionne and Andrew Butler buried their 17-year-old daughter Clara last Friday. Police said the high schooler overdosed on a pill she bought on the street thinking it was Percocet. Her parents said it was pure Fentanyl.

“She said, ‘I’m just going to go to sleep and it will all be ok,’” Dionne Butler said. “It’s happening more and more. You just can’t take stuff. You don’t know.”

“I feel like I failed,” Andrew Butler said through tears.

Gwinnett Police said three to four people a week are dying in their county alone due to laced pills.

The DEA said deaths are spiking across metro Atlanta.

“Street pills are equivalent to being a weapon of mass destruction,” Truesdale said. “It not only hits it’s target, but it also causes collateral damage.”

The DEA said the problem is heightened in metro Atlanta because the city is a transshipment point. Big loads of drugs come in to Atlanta and much of it is shipped to other parts of the country -- but a large chunk stays in metro Atlanta.

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