A Hudson Valley official is warning about a new fentanyl alert which notes that fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine.

Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler wants the public to be aware of a recently issued New York State Department of Health and the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services alert about growing heroin and fentanyl problems across the state.

The alert states that, “New York State’s heroin crisis is worsening with the presence of fentanyl in the illicit drug market.” The alert also warns that fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine.

According to Hoovler, Fentanyl is often mixed with heroin or sold as heroin, which makes the drug much more potent than many buyers realize. A little know side of effect of Fentanyl is chest wall rigidity, where a person can't move his or her chest wall to breathe even though he or she might be conscious and trying to do so.

“Opioid overdoses have increased state-wide in recent years, including in Orange County,” said District Attorney Hoovler stated. “We have noticed an uptick in fentanyl being present in the heroin recovered during narcotics investigations. The public needs to be aware of the potentially lethal consequences of these substances. Parents, and loved ones of anyone who might be tempted to use or purchase illicit narcotics, should be aware of the warning signs of opioid use and addiction.”

Hoovler adds that fentanyl can be absorbed through the skin, a fact that not many are aware of. Even touching the substance can be dangerous.

District Attorney Hoovler advises all Orange County residents to visit the District Attorney’s Office webpage at http://www.orangecountygov.com/content/124/912/23685/default.aspx to familiarize themselves with basic facts about opioid addiction and its long-term effects. The site also features warning signs of heroin use and addiction that you should be aware of to potentially save a loved one.

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