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Dangerous Fentanyl-Laced Cocaine Linked To Overdoses, Deaths In Joliet

JOLIET, Ill. (CBS) -- Three people have died in two days from a bad batch of drugs in Joliet, and police are warning drug users about a deadly mix making the rounds.

As CBS 2's Charlie De Mar explained, this time it is not heroin, but cocaine that has been tainted with the potent and dangerous opioid fentanyl.

"It's all about money," said Bob Margentina. "They don't care about anybody they're selling it to."

That greed is now linked to six overdoses and three deaths in Joliet alone since Sunday.

Police suspect a concoction of fentanyl-laced cocaine is to blame.

A fragment of frayed police tape was still strung Wednesday night outside the home on Landau Avenue, where a 40-year-old father was found dead

"He was a good kid, and they were good neighbors," Margentina said.

Paramedics saved another man found unconscious inside the same home.

"As we're seeing with these recent deaths, fentanyl is the type of substance that you can overdose very quickly on and cause death almost instantly," said Jim Scarpace, executive director of the Gateway Foundation.

Scarpace's Gateway Foundation provides drug and alcohol treatment in Joliet and throughout the state.

"I think as people are becoming more wary and worried about fentanyl and some of these synthetic opiates, they're switching from substances like heroin to cocaine thinking that they can still feed their illness, if you will, and manage it with other substances," Scarpace said.

But the deadly combination of cocaine and fentanyl killed two more people Tuesday on Bridge Street – leaving another two in critical condition.

"Whoever is doing it, I hope they give them a lot of time," Margentina said.

Joliet police are trying to find the source where the fentanyl-laced cocaine came from. The idea, of course, is to try to prevent the supplier from pumping even more drugs into the community.


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