Pubdate: Wed, 31 May 2006
Source: Detroit News (MI)
Copyright: 2006, The Detroit News
Author: Brad Heath, The Detroit News
Bookmark: (Cocaine)
Bookmark: (Heroin)


Officials still on alert, although no casualties linked to drug 
cocktail reported on Tuesday.

The daily toll of deaths linked to the powerful painkiller fentanyl 
has fallen in recent days, with no new deaths on Tuesday, officials said.

It was the first day since authorities began sounding a public alarm 
about illegal drugs containing fentanyl almost two weeks ago that no 
new casualties were reported.

"We're certainly breathing a little easier, but to actually say that 
the tide has been stemmed and we're not expecting any more deaths, I 
don't know that we can say that," said Dr. Michele Reid, medical 
director of the Detroit-Wayne County Community Mental Health Agency.

Officials suspect the mixture of fentanyl with heroin or cocaine 
caused three deaths each on Saturday and Sunday, and one death 
Monday. The week before, the county averaged more than four suspect 
deaths a day. Officials can't conclusively link the deaths to 
fentanyl until toxicology tests are completed.

Fentanyl is believed to be responsible for 48 deaths in Wayne County 
in less than two weeks. Other counties in southeast Michigan have 
reported a handful of deaths thought to be caused by the drugs.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman