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Deadly Drug Combo May Be Tied To 6 Deaths In Sacramento Area

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A deadly drug combination could be to blame for at least six deaths in something Sacramento County public health officials say they've never seen before.

Officials believe Fentanyl, a synthetic opiate, is being laced into Norco pills.

At least six deaths could be the result of the poisonous pills, and 20 have been tied to the contaminated medication since Wednesday.

Health officials say if you aren't getting Norco from a legitimate source, then you're playing Russian roulette with your life.

The big mystery is whether this is coming from one dealer or multiple dealers.

The fast-acting and potentially lethal pill combination has Sacramento County Health Department officials issuing a stern warning to the public.

"People need to be aware that this is out there and some of the Norco that is being sold on the street is being contaminated, it is dangerous. It can easily cause an overdose," said Dr. Olivia Kasirye.

The drug suspected of being laced with Norco is hundreds of times stronger than heroin.

"Fentanyl is much more stronger, much more potent than Norco and so the combination of the two is probably causing the overdose," she said.

There's been a steady stream of calls from poison control that started late last week.

"The count we have is 15 people who have been treated in hospitals and we have also been notified about 5 deaths associated with overdoses," she said.

First responders say they've seen an uptick in calls, too. Crews say they've relied on Naloxone, a drug meant to reverse an overdose.

"Once we administer it, it can work as quickly as seconds all the way up to around 2 minutes. It's very quickly, it's very quick-acting," said Sacramento Metro Fire Capt. Scott Perryman.

Health officials know having access to that life-saving medication in time isn't always possible, which is why they're working with police, hospitals and fire departments to find the source of the pills.

"It's very important that people do not take pills from strangers, do not buy pills that are not prescribed to them and that they need to be careful of the source of the medication that they're taking," Kasirye said.

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