OBN seeing new variants of fentanyl with increased resistance to Narcan

One of the first fentanyl busts of the year happened in Tulsa.

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa police arrested Joey Dashner suspected of trafficking fentanyl.

The last drug, narcotic agents like Mark Woodward with Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN), want to see right now.

“There are variations of fentanyl … that are now being cut with new types of drugs that are not responding to Narcan,” Woodward said.

Narcan or Naloxone can be immediately used to save someone having an opioid overdose.

“Once they come to, they are combative, they won’t know what happened,” Delena Pritchard said. “It’s like they woke up from a dead sleep.”

Delana Pritchard has used it before.

“Even Gavin, my son, I had to give Narcan, the spray version before,” she said.

She says Gavin survived that overdose but died from his next overdose. She thinks, on fentanyl.

“We just need to make sure everyone has it. My son died from it and if he would have had Narcan given to him, immediately, it could have changed the outcome,” she said.

This was the first year they celebrated New Years without Gavin. He died in August.

They say Gavin could put a smile on anyone’s face, but the sad reality is, he did suffer from addiction. Now, Pritchard is a part of Families Supporting Families. They meet monthly, most of them have lost a loved one from opioids or fentanyl.

“I even talked to a paramedic and nurse practitioner the other day who didn’t know it was free,” she said. “They thought you needed a prescription.”

Narcotics agents agree. Many carry it due to the potency of fentanyl. An officer in Oklahoma was overcome just by being around it.

Agents believe the 299 people who died from fentanyl overdoses in 2021, was likely a conservative number.

“There are ones we will never know about, cases where they are at a club or party or friends, and someone hits them with Narcan and brings them right back and it is never reported, and they go right back to partying. We expect the overdose numbers are quite conservative, the several thousand categories. Just at our Oklahoma City and Tulsa hospital on any given night, there are anywhere from 8-12 people being brought in for a fentanyl overdose,” Woodward said. “Narcan has been a lifesaver, but we are starting to see new variations that more and more frequently are becoming Narcan resistant.”

For more information on how to access Naloxone, click here.