Connecticut Overdose Linked to Fentanyl-laced Cannabis Due to Cross Contamination by Dealer

A federal report found that cannabis samples in Connecticut linked to opioid overdoses had been cross-contaminated with fentanyl by a single dealer, and did not constitute a repeated pattern of adulteration.

Full story after the jump.

Last fall, the Connecticut Department of Public Health issued a warning that 39 opioid overdoses in the state had been linked to fentanyl-laced cannabis, which prompted the captain of the Plymouth Police Department to call for the legalization of adult-use cannabis; however, an investigation by the federal High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program has determined that just one cannabis sample was linked to an opioid overdose, NBC Connecticut reports. 

The investigators said the cannabis sample found at the site of an overdose in Plymouth was not intentionally laced with fentanyl, rather it was cross-contaminated due to poor quality control by the dealer. HIDTA determined that 30 of the 39 overdoses involved people with a history of opioid use. 

Robert Lawlor Jr., a drug intelligence officer for HIDTA’s New England district, told NBC Connecticut that “It was kind of hard to pinpoint whether or not these people actually overdosed from just smoking marijuana.” 

“They’re using the same equipment to bag up their marijuana as they are their fentanyl, which can cause cross contamination.” — Lawlor to NBC Connecticut 

The Department of Public Health agreed with the HIDTA report, telling Hearst Connecticut Media that the dealer “…failed to clean their instruments before processing the marijuana and cross-contaminated it with fentanyl.” 

HIDTA did warn, though, that while the incident “may be isolated,” it “could very easily happen again.” 

The Department of Public Health agreed with the HIDTA report, telling Hearst Connecticut Media that the dealer “…failed to clean their instruments before processing the marijuana and cross-contaminated it with fentanyl.”  

In 2019, 2020, and 2021, more than 80% of overdose deaths in Connecticut involved fentanyl, according to state Department of Public Health statistics. 

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