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Cases of Fentanyl use appearing in Pueblo - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Cases of Fentanyl use appearing in Pueblo

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COLORADO -

Fentanyl - it's a hundred times more powerful than heroin and now, it's on the streets of Pueblo.

Heroin overdose deaths in Colorado outnumbered homicides in 2015 according to the state Department of Health.
But adding Fentanyl takes this problem to a whole new level.

"It was just real obvious that it was really a much stronger drug than what we were dealing with the street heroin," said Dianne Hayhurst-Vigil, the Agency Substance Use Disorder Director at Crossroads Turning Points, Inc.

In the past couple of months, Pueblo has seen cases of Fentanyl use popping up in different areas.
About three cases treated at the Crossroads Turning Points Detox Facility on E. 13 St.

"They're taking substances into their system that have killed others and will continue to kill people," added Hayhurst-Vigil.

Fentanyl, a narcotic known for treating severe pain, can be highly addictive.
When it ends up on the street, laced with heroin, it can have deadly consequences.

"If you're used to heroin - which is a certain  strength and a certain potency and then all of a sudden Fentanyl comes in and now all of a sudden after a while your need has gone up to that level, you're closer to the edge of a disaster all the time" said Dr. Michael Nerenberg with the Southern Colorado Harm Reduction Association.

The withdrawal symptoms are so intense, Crossroads Turning Points detox centers are now looking to expand their staff's training on how to spot and treat these symptoms.

"It's a painkiller, so when that starts wearing off they start feeling every little stitch of pain that they may every might have," said  Hayhurst-Vigil.
"Some of them even say 'I can feel the hair growing on my arms.'"

Meanwhile, the Southern Colorado Harm Reduction Association is working on spreading the word on Fentanyl, before it seeps deeper into the fabric of this community.

"Now if it is here and it takes hold," Dr. Nerenberg said, "I expect to see an increase in the amount of overdoses."

The Pueblo County Coroner's Office confirmed there have been two deaths due to Fentanyl overdose in the past year; one death was due to recreational use while the other was attributed to therapeutic use.

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