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Missoula police investigating fentanyl overdoses, 1 death

| June 8, 2021 1:15 PM

MISSOULA (AP) — The Missoula Police Department and other area law enforcement agencies issued a warning Tuesday saying there are pills being sold on the street that appear similar to prescription oxycodone, but that actually contain fentanyl and are leading to overdoses, including the recent death of an 18-year-old in Missoula.

Police released an image of the round blue pills with a line across the middle and a capital "M" at the top and the number "30" at the bottom, which look like a prescription anti-anxiety drug called clorazepate dipotassium. Prescription oxycodone pills are also round and blue and have an "M" on one side and a "30" on the other.

The Montana State Crime Lab confirmed the seized pills contain fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that is used to treat severe pain, but that can also slow or stop a person's breathing.

Many overdoses have been reported in the Missoula area, including other deaths. First responders have had to use naloxone to reverse the effects of overdoses, spokesperson Lydia Arnold said.

Arnold did not provide any information about how many pills were seized or how many overdoses or deaths officers are investigating, the Missoulian reported.