Nov 20, 2021 - Health

Connecticut health officials warn of potential fentanyl-laced marijuana

Image of a weed plant.

The Connecticut House passed a bill on June 16 that would legalize marijuana in the state. Photo: Brad Horrigan/Hartford Courant/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The Connecticut Department of Public Health is investigating reports of patients who said they only smoked marijuana, but displayed opioid overdose symptoms and required naloxone for revival.

Driving the news: In one of the cases, the marijuana in question tested positive for containing fentanyl, according to the state's public health agency.

  • The department reported 39 cases of opioid overdose among individuals who said they only used marijuana over a roughly four-month period.
  • "This is the first lab-confirmed case of marijuana with fentanyl in Connecticut and possibly the first confirmed case in the United States,” Public Health Commissioner Manisha Juthani said in a statement.
  • Fentanyl is the leading cause of overdose deaths in the state of Connecticut, NBC Connecticut reports.

Between the lines: Although the forensic lab confirmed that a marijuana sample contained fentanyl, the public health agency's statement made no mention of samples and test results in the other 38 cases.

The big picture: The investigation into marijuana potentially laced with fentanyl comes as drug overdoses in the U.S. have surged to a record high, according to provisional data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week.

  • Drug overdose fatalities reached six figures over a 12-month period for the first time, Axios' Jacob Knutson reports.
  • An estimated 100,306 people in the United States died from a drug overdose in a 12-month period ending April 2021, per the data.

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