COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Colorado Springs police issued a community alert Monday, saying that fentanyl has made its way into drug distribution operations within city limits.
The El Paso County Coroner's Office documented 17 fentanyl overdose deaths between Jan. 2019 and Oct. 31 January 19, the alert says. That's an increase from the nine fentanyl overdose deaths in 2018 and the five deaths in 2017.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate painkiller that's 40 to 50 times stronger than street-level heroin and can trigger sometimes lethal overdoses, police say.
In 2019, CSPD's narcotics team seized approximately 35 grams of fentanyl in various forms and 3,766 dosage units, according to the release.
Police say that fentanyl is being mixed with heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine to increase potency and profits. They say that the danger comes from many dealers and buyers not knowing exactly what they're selling or ingesting.
Fentanyl can be lethal even at very low doses, police say. It comes in several forms including powder, blotter paper, patch, tablets, sprays and liquids. They can also be marked to mimic authentic prescription drugs, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, Percocet and Xanax.