One person is dead and 12 others hospitalized after suspected fentanyl overdoses in California that sickened two responding police officers, authorities said. When they arrived they found one man dead and had to transport 12 people to the hospital.
"We were waiting and have been waiting, unfortunately, for this to happen in the sense that we knew fentanyl had been moving west and in other parts of the country they're really seeing the greatest impact of this drug", O'Brien said.
"Upon arrival, Chico police officers found multiple individuals in what appeared to be life-threatening overdose conditions", he told Fox News.
Chico Fire Department Chief, Steven Standridge, said the pair were "potentially exposed" to fentanyl, which is a synthetic opioid that is frequently mixed with heroin.
Police did not provide many details of the person who died, but said he was an adult male who died on the scene.
Four of those people admitted to the hospital were listed in critical condition, O'Brien said, adding there is "potential for additional fatalities", Fox reported.
He said that while it is still too early in the investigation to be sure, the likely cause of death and injuries is from consumption of the potent drug.
Two responding officers were also treated at the hospital after complaining of feeling "some effects" but they were released and are said to be in "good condition". "O'Brien said police performed CPR and administered six doses of naloxone, which is used to treat and reverse the effects of narcotic overdoses".
"The residence where this incident occurred is being treated as a hazmat site".
Police are not clear about how or why the victims might have consumed the substance.
The drug is a synthetic opioid which is typically combined with heroin.
"It was a large, mass casualty incident for us", the fire chief said in a news conference Saturday night. A report issued by the Centers for Disease Control in December showed fentanyl was the leading cause of overdose deaths in the US for 2016, the most recent year numbers have been released.
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