VENUS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Authorities in North Texas have arrested two 16-year-olds in connection to the deaths of two other teenagers who are believed to have died from overdosing on counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl.
Police in Venus, located in Johnson County, made the arrest of the two suspects following the deaths of the two boys in March. The identities of the two suspects or what charges they face were not immediately released.
Police said the two victims died in separate incidents over spring break.
In each case, witnesses told police they thought they were taking oxycodone pills. Police said there have been confirmed cases around North Texas in recent months of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl.
When MedStar checked the number of accidental opioid overdoses it’s treated recently, it found numbers had jumped significantly compared to the previous year. In January, they even tripled.
“To have this level of increase over the last three months, over the last 12 months was very disconcerting,” Matt Zavadsky, chief strategic integration officer for MedStar, said.
Police believe fentanyl is the biggest culprit.
Traffickers have been using it to create counterfeit oxycodone pills as the real prescription pain drug has become harder for them to find. It’s much easier for victims to accidentally overdose on pills produced on the black market.
“There’s a lot of variability in what they’re getting and what they’re taking. Thinking they’re taking one thing and accidentally taking something stronger and they overdose,” Zavadsky said.
MedStar keeps the opioid antidote Narcan readily available. It’s delivered through the nose.
“Often times we have patients that would be unresponsive, not breathing. We give them Narcan and in just a few minutes, they’re awake, conscious, and they’re refusing transport to a hospital,” Zavadsky said.
MedStar said its overdose patients have ranged from 16 to 84 years old.
In 2019, CBS 11 News found the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office recorded two fentanyl-related deaths in people aged 25 or younger. In 2020, that number went up to 37.