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Fentanyl: A Cause For Concern, As South Florida Graduation Season Begins

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Brendan's drug of choice through high school and college was Percocet.

He ended up buying it off the street, "I was about 22 and I took some medication, it was as a pill, it was laced with fentanyl and I overdosed," he said. It nearly cost him his life more than once.

"I remember waking up in the back of an ambulance, they told me that I'd overdosed on fentanyl and they used Narcan on me, that didn't stop me at all," he said.

He ended up overdosing several times before saying enough.

Brendan's been sober for more than 2 years and now helps kids in recovery at the South Florida Wellness Center.

With graduation parties coming up, he's worried about kids popping a pill, aiming for a fun weekend.

"You never know what you're going to get. Especially going to party and having a good weekend, there's no harm in that.  That was my thought process and it ended up with me overdosing about 5 times," Brendan said.

Dr. Randy Katz is the Medical Director of Emergency Services for Memorial Healthcare.  

"These pills that look like they're real pills have Fentanyl in them, most of them do. An overwhelming majority that are tested have fentanyl," Dr. Katz said.

He sees an alarming increase in the number of fentanyl patients - and worries that as kids celebrate graduation it could get worse. 

"There's nothing worse than having to tell a parent that their son or daughter is not with them anymore because of a silly decision they made by taking a pill given to them by a friend," he warns.

Dr. Katz and Brendan are urging people not to take illicit drugs in the first place, but note the importance of having lifesaving Narcan nearby, just in case. It's available at most pharmacies without a prescription.  

"You don't have to be a drug user to carry it. What if your friends get into some drugs and it has fentanyl in it? And now there's no lifesaver. Narcan is the life saver. Without Narcan, I wouldn't be here," Brendan said.

Memorial Healthcare is holding a Fentanyl Townhall Meeting. You can get to it here

For more information on fentanyl, click here.

For more information on Narcan, click here.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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