Florida Poison Control seeing more synthetic drug overdose calls

Poison Control: This is burdening local hospitals
Posted at 6:24 PM, Sep 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-07 18:24:58-04

A growing number of reported drug overdoses are overwhelming local hospitals, according to Florida Poison Control.

Last week in South Florida, a teen, deputies say was high on methylone and acid jumped through the glass window of a stranger's house. The homeowner fought back.

"Luckily, we had a strong man and a woman with a bat," said Barbara Allen, who lives nearby. "It could have been a lot worse than it was."

With street drugs with names like AK-47, Matrix, MDMA and California Dreams, these drugs are fast becoming a problem in Tampa Bay and across Florida.

"That's the really scary stuff," said Dr. Alfred Aleguas Jr., Managing Director of Florida Poison Information Center-Tampa. "I don't think I'd want a teenager growing up in these times."

Florida Poison Control is now seeing a growing number of calls to their hotline about synthetic drug overdoses and Aleguas said it's placing a burden on local hospitals.

"Now it's all these synthetics that are cheap, they are readily available, and can kill you," he said.

In May, St. Joseph's Hospital got overwhelmed with 57 overdose cases after the Sunset Music Festival, Aleguas said. Two people died. Their body temperatures were at 110 degrees and 107 degrees from street drug overdoses.

Now, Florida Poison Control is urging parents to talk to their kids about never buying street drugs and synthetics because you can never know for sure what's in them, Aleguas said.

This comes as Pasco County is issuing their own warning about carfentanil, a synthetic opioid with a potency ten thousand  times greater than morphine.

This week in Ohio, there were at least 200 reported overdoses of carfentanil. Now, health officials like Aleguas believe its use is spreading here.

"We're just sort of seeing the beginning of a lot of this stuff," he said.