New drug combination kills almost 100 nationwide... Is it here? - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

New drug combination kills almost 100 nationwide... Is it here?

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59News went to Summers County to investigate a new drug.

It's a deadly mix of heroin and fentanyl, which is a chronic pain killer. Authorities from Maryland to Rhode Island say it's already taken the lives of almost 100 Americans in the past few weeks.

According to experts at the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and Research at Johns Hopkins University, fentanyl is between 80 to 100 times more powerful than morphine.

Hinton Police Chief Derek Snavely told 59News when celebrities die because of drug overdoses, it can be a double-edged sword.

"A lot of people look up to them as role models, even though they are celebrities and probably will never meet them, they relate to them and see them doing it and they get in their minds that they want to do it to. It definitely glamorizes it," Snavely said.

The other side of that sword, he said, is a harsh but necessary reality.

"It does create some awareness, hopefully parents will watch, stay informed and look out for indicators within their own kids and prevent the same thing from happening to them," he told us.

Chief Snavely told us the trend is moving from pills to heroin because it is a better high for a cheaper price.

"We're chasing the pill problem then heroin comes into the picture. Someone's always wanting to do something quicker and cheaper," said Snavely.

Here's Snavely's idea for a solution to the drug epidemic.

"I believe in meaningful consequences for people's actions. People will only get 16 months in jail for drug dealing. I think that's a joke. These people need to serve hard time," he told us.

Experts at the Mental Health Association said dealers sell heroin with higher concentrations of fentanyl to increase their clients' tolerance, then lower the concentration to increase the demand.