CHICAGO (CBS) – Chicago public health officials are urging those attending Lollapalooza this weekend to be cautious and test their drugs for fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid.
The Chicago Department of Public Health posted an alert on its social media accounts warningfans that fentanyl can easily cause an overdose. Fentanyl can be found in cocaine, MDMA, and other drugs, not just heroin. The department also advised the public to not use drugs by themselves.
CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady addressed the issue at a news conference on Wednesday.
“We regularly see, and have for years, young people who attend festivals often are feeling very free and often experiment, in some cases, with illicit substances,” Arwady said. “The problem is that so many of those illicit substances now are laced with fentanyl.”
She said fentanyl can be especially dangerous for those who do not routinely use opioids.
Arwady added that CDPH has already distributed hundreds of thousands of fentanyl test strips which can detect fentanyl in another substance.
She said every year during the Lollapalooza festival, the city sees a “surge” of people, especially young people, coming into emergency departments because of overdoses.
“Every year we see young people end up admitted to the hospital because they experimented at a time when we really just want people to have fun, but have fun safely,” she said.
The department said test strips for fentanyl and Narcan, a medication used to reverse opioid overdoses, are available by emailing email@example.com or by visiting a Chicago Public Library.