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Phoenix toxicologist warns of increasing sales of more potent form of street heroin

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — An ongoing push for a stronger form of street heroin is prompting some dealers to lace their products with a more powerful opiate, according to a Phoenix toxicologist.

Dr. Frank LoVecchio with the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center said the opiate, Fentanyl, has a much stronger concentration than heroin or morphine alone.

The mix of heroin and Fentanyl gives users a stronger high, prompting drug dealers to take notice in what has become a competitive heroin marketplace.

However, LoVecchio said it has also put users in comas, stopped their breathing and has even led to death.

“For reasons of competition, among dealers where they want to have the strongest product – or perhaps maliciously where they want to harm someone who uses it — they have added Fentanyl to (heroin),” he said.

LoVecchio said dealers use the opiate in their product because it is cheap to manufacture and delivers a better product.

“It’s unfortunate, but it makes the news every time someone dies,” LoVecchio said.

Phoenix is not the first city where officials have seen the opiate being used: Cities in Ohio, Tennessee and California have reported dealers substituting Fentanyl for less potent drugs, such as oxycodone and Percocet.

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