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Three Dead in Downtown From Suspected Fentanyl Poisoning, L.A. To Hand Out 50,000 Boxes of NARCAN

2:49 PM PDT on May 6, 2022

    Colin Davis/Unsplash

    Sad, all-too-familiar news from downtown today, as CBS reports the discovery of three men, found dead in the same Los Angeles apartment this week from suspected drug overdoses.

    A powdery substance found on the scene, among drug paraphernalia, is believed to be or contain fentanyl, the lethal opioid often used to cut heroin and found increasingly in a wide range of other drugs. NARCAN, which can stop an overdose in its track, was not used in this case, as the men were already dead when emergency workers arrived.

    Two of the three dead men have been identified, including 47-year-old Jason Turnage, listed on LinkedIn as a USC-educated actor, filmmaker, and the CEO of Gibson Street Studio, and 48-year-old Mirko Salaris, a local house DJ originally from Italy.

    A police officer responding to the scene, which followed a family members' call on Wednesday about three unresponsive people in the residence, reported feeling ill himself after being exposed to the scene of the tragedy, having possibly inhaled some of the drug by accident. The officer was taken to the hospital for testing and is reported to be in stable condition.

    According to an AP story on the deaths, the Biden administration's first national drug control strategy has noted the predicted, "historic" deaths of over 105,000 people in the U.S. from drug overdoses last year, with synthetic opioids like fentanyl involved in 66% of these cases. One  doesn't need to look far to find stories of acquaintances, friends, heroes, and neighbors dying from ODs these days, as in the famous cases of beloved stars like Tom Petty, Michael K. Williams, and Prince to painkillers that contained fentanyl.

    L.A. TACO itself had just mentioned the deaths of four comedy veterans at a house in Venice using fentanyl-laced cocaine last year, while looking at Dead City Punx's efforts to train us all in the use of NARCAN this week. Whereas elsewhere in the country, a student at Ohio State was reported dead today after taking counterfeit Aderall laced with fentanyl.

    Frequent tragedies such as these have led the U.S. to label fentanyl-related deaths an epidemic. Numerous cities and states in the U.S. are reporting their own crises in fentanyl-related overdoses, including San Francisco, New Jersey, and St. Louis, just to cite a few recent national cries for help.

    In response to our own worsening crisis, Los Angeles has just announced plans to hand out 50,000 boxes of NARCAN in an effort to stem the flood of this pernicious, life-snatching opiate.

    Hopefully, the city's move will help prevent one more mass-overdose, like this week's tragedy in Downtown, from occurring again.

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