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Fentanyl pressed Xanax found all over west side of Cleveland

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 5:24 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -Overdoses are skyrocketing across Northeast Ohio as a bad batch of pills is making the rounds on Cleveland’s west side near 117th.

“What we’ve heard about the Xanax on the streets comes from people who are actively using,” said Sara Szelagowski, with Project White Butterfly.

“It’s a zipcode where there has been a lot of overdoses, and there’s a lot of known drug use over here”.

Sara Szelagowski and her co-worker Jasmine work for Project White Butterfly.

They are handing out free Narcan and fentanyl test strips after getting a tip that drug dealers were selling Xanax pressed with high levels of fentanyl.

“I received a call from a woman whose boyfriend had overdosed and she was looking to get more Narcan, she also knows other people that are using so she took fentanyl test strips so they could test the pills,” said Szelagowski.

Szelagowski explained that shaming people into not doing drugs statistically isn’t working, so she’s hoping by giving them the resources to do them safely they’ll stay alive long enough to want to get sober.

According to the DEA, that’s getting harder to do. Through departments, One Pill Can Kill project they’ve found that many pills are being mixed with fentanyl, all across the state.

“It’s not a science they have no idea what the potency of those pills are” explained Keith Marting with thE DEA, “they’re just putting it in, and selling it”.

Project White Butterfly is asking for your help to end this deadly epidemic, and it starts with just listening.

“Jasmine and I have been through it we have committed crimes we have been arrested,’ said Szelagowski “and here I am standing out here. We can recover, we can change our lives we can turn around it just takes the right amount of support and resources, and encouragement”.

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