Fentanyl fear: St. Cloud reports 2-day spike in overdoses

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) – Authorities in the St. Cloud metro area say one person died and eight others were sickened from drug overdoses involving fentanyl over a two-day period.

The Central Minnesota Violent Offender Task Force says the cases were reported in the St. Cloud area from Thursday through midday Friday.

Fentanyl is an unpredictable and powerful synthetic painkiller that is blamed for driving an increase in fatal drug overdoses around the country.

It is estimated to be 80 times as potent as morphine and hundreds of times more potent than heroin. Agencies across the state have reported recent increases in overdose-related calls for service, many of them due to fentanyl.

Last month, 21 members of a drug-trafficking organization were charged with dealing fentanyl and heroin in northern Minnesota.