False Story about Fentanyl-laced Cannabis Circulates

Experts are expressing concern with a recent negative news story about cannabis currently in circulation. A viral article by KUTV, a local news station in Salt Lake City, Utah, claims that cannabis laced with fentanyl hit the streets. But a number of experts told an Ohio-based news station, WCPO, that the claims are unverified, probably false and most likely based on rumors.

KUTV described a “deadly drug” disguised to look like cannabis, but that is laced with fentanyl—an opioid that can easily cause overdoses. “I think a lot of death could come from this, I think—a lot of people stepping into the realm of overdose unexpectedly,” Chris Ruflin told KUTV, whom the station called a “recovering addict.” KUTV reporters admitted, however, that local law enforcement agencies said they haven’t seen that particular drug on the streets, when questioned about it. Only an unspecified internal law enforcement bulletin was mentioned as the source. The report went on to claim that cannabis “fakes” have been seen in Canada and Ohio.

In a video segment, reporter Jim Spiewak of KUTV said that fentanyl had been designed to look like cannabis. As fentanyl looks nothing like cannabis, it’s unclear how this would be possible.

But health authorities in Ohio aren’t buying it. WCPO reports that when cannabis consumption rose in Hamilton County, Ohio, authorities had similar concerns, but slowly, they realized those claims were baseless as it would be expensive to lace cannabis with drugs such as fentanyl. Reporters reached out to multiple health agencies to see if any reports were real. “I would think it would be common that, as fentanyl spreads across the country, you’ll see these reports popping up because it’s the same thing we did when it first started coming up,” said Middletown police Chief Tom Synan, who leads the Hamilton County Heroin Coalition. But Synan explained that his team couldn’t verify those claims and it’s not a good idea to believe every rumor.

Many news stations have a tendency to lump cannabis along with other dangerous drugs such as fentanyl and opioids, as well as drugs like  spice or K2, which actually have nothing to do with cannabis.



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