BRATTLEBORO — Local police reported a case of fentanyl-laced marijuana over the weekend.
On Saturday, the Brattleboro Police Department responded to a report of an overdose. Police said CPR was used and several doses of Naloxone or Narcan were required to revive the patient. The patient survived, and no further information will be released by the police department regarding the person’s medical status.
Police said the patient asserted that they had not used any opiates, and had only smoked marijuana. Brattleboro officers conducted a field test on the patient’s remaining marijuana and it tested positively for fentanyl, a news release from the BPD states.
Police organizations in New England have been cautioned about the presence of fentanyl-laced marijuana in some states, according to the news release.
Asked whether police will be looking into where the marijuana came from, Police Chief Normy Hardy said she cannot comment on an open investigation. She said the department issued information on the presence of fentanyl-laced marijuana as it was delivered to the department, as a public service announcement.
“The marijuana tested positive,” she said. “We have not made any statements as to why and will not. There can be other circumstances of course.”
Recent reports in Connecticut say officials are responding to fentanyl overdoses in which the person was using marijuana that was tested and contained fentanyl.
“Since July, 39 overdoses requiring the use of naloxone for revival have been reported,” states a report about Connecticut incidents from CBS News. “In each case, the person involved said they had only smoked marijuana, but officials said they exhibited opioid symptoms.”
BPD said the private smoking of marijuana is legal in Vermont for those 21 and older. Users are cautioned to ensure they know the source and history of any marijuana they may consume.
“We know that drugs, including heroin, cocaine and marijuana, are being laced with fentanyl,” said Ben Truman, a spokesperson for the Vermont Department of Health. “You just can’t know what is in a street drug. This is a serious public health and safety concern with often tragic outcomes in Vermont and across the country.”
Truman said the state has many efforts to help provide supports needed for harm reduction, prevention, treatment and recovery related to substance use disorder. He pointed to VTHelplink.com, which is a free resource Vermonters.
Recognizing the path to recovery can be long for many, Truman said, the health department has 163 community distribution sites for Narcan. In summer 2020, the department launched the Naloxone Leave Behind kit program in which EMS agencies leave kits with patients and their families when they interact with them during situations involving opioid use disorder.
“As part of these two primary efforts,” Truman said, “we have distributed 17,555 doses of Narcan to Vermonters throughout this past summer.”