FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The Flagstaff Police Department says it is seeing a spike in overdoses and deaths associated with blue fentanyl pills manufactured to look like the prescription opioid Oxycodone.
The agency reported Monday there were two separate deaths at different locations in Flagstaff over the weekend that appear to be linked to the pills. In both cases plastic bags of the blue pills marked with “M30” were found at the places where the people died. The local medical examiner’s office is investigating both deaths.
Flagstaff officers arriving Saturday at the scene of a third overdose attributed to the pills found an unresponsive person who was revived and taken to the hospital. Police say that person also swallowed the blue pills before losing consciousness.
A statement from Flagstaff did not say say where they believe the pills originated.
But federal authorities have said that most of the counterfeit blue pills flooding the Southwest in recent years has been manufactured south of the border and smuggled into the U.S. by Mexican drug cartels.
Known in southern Arizona as “Mexican Oxy,” it’s a a profitable new business for gangs that have made the synthetic opioid fentanyl responsible for a wave of the fatal drug overdoses in the U.S.