Prince William County police issued a rare warning to the community Wednesday morning to raise awareness of deadly counterfeit drugs laced with fentanyl after two local teens died in a 48-hour period.
The warning follows the deaths of a 15-year-old Woodbridge boy on Sunday and that of a 14-year-old Dale City boy on Tuesday, according to 1st Sgt. Jonathan Perok, a Prince William County police spokesman.
Police said both teens' fatal overdoses “appear to be connected” to counterfeit forms of the drug Percocet, sometimes called “Perc30.”
“The counterfeit drugs in both recent incidents were preliminarily tested and confirmed as being laced with fentanyl,” Perok said in the warning.
Fentanyl is known to be extremely fatal, even in the smallest doses if the effects of an overdose are not recognized and treated immediately. Those who suspect that someone is overdosing should call 911 immediately and administer Narcan, if available, Perok said in a news release.
Narcan is publicly available in most pharmacies, the warning notes. Narcan is usually administered as a nasal spray and reverses the physiological effects of an overdose.
“While the investigations into the two recent deaths are ongoing, investigators have strong suspicions the victims overdosed after having consumed the fentanyl-laced narcotic,” Perok wrote in the warning.
The official causes of the teens' deaths are pending toxicology results with the Medical Examiner’s Office. The origins of how the narcotics were obtained by the teens remains under investigation, Perok said.
The warning notes that teens are “susceptible to peer influence and pressures” and “implores parents and guardians to take immediate action” to speak with their children and loved ones as soon as possible about the dangers of drug use to prevent further death and illness.
If suspected illegal narcotics are found, they should not be handled. People should instead call police, Perok said.
Help with substance abuse issues can be obtained through both Prince William County public schools and Prince William County community services. Also, the police department offers medication disposal boxes at each of its three district stations for residents to dispose of narcotics safely, “no questions asked,” the release said.
This story has been updated.