The Nassau County Medical Examiner is reporting that glassine packets marked as “24K,” that are presumably being distributed as heroin, in fact contains the extremely potent narcotic analgesic fentanyl and could be responsible for several deaths initially assumed to be linked to the abuse of heroin.
Evidence associated with two of these cases has been analyzed by the Forensic Toxicology Laboratory and has been determined to contain fentanyl in combination with the banned antipyretic metamizole. Specifically these glassine packets are stamped as “24K” in red ink, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office.
Fentanyl is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine, the active ingredient of heroin. Clinically, fentanyl is used for the treatment of severe pain or for the induction of anesthesia. Severe respiratory depression may occur with the use of fentanyl. Metamizole is an analgesic and antipyretic that is similar in use to ibuprofen. Metamizole has been banned for use in the US since 1977.