The latest horror story to emerge from downtown Portland’s fentanyl crisis: Eight people in their “late teens and early 20s” all overdosed this morning in the proximity of a playground in the North Park Blocks.
All evidence points to them having believed they were consuming cocaine. Fentanyl, which like cocaine is commonly sold as a white powder, is generally smoked, not snorted.
WW obtained an audio recording of the emergency radio communications during the incident, which occurred around 10:15 am.
“Overdose at the elephant,” says a dispatcher, referring to a large bronze sculpture across the street from a playground on Northwest Park Avenue and Couch Street. “Fentanyl overdose. They snorted through the nose,” a first responder later notes.
The communication implies the victims accidentally consumed laced cocaine, says Portland Fire & Rescue spokesman Rick Graves. The fire bureau activated a mass-victim response, which it does only a few times per year. Four people were transported to the hospital.
Four days ago, Portland Police Bureau sent out a press release “to warn the community about a concerning number of juvenile overdoses in recent months.”
Since the beginning of summer, 10 children had overdosed. Fentanyl was suspected in all cases but one. Five of the children died.
And in May, PPB warned of a “dangerous batch” of fentanyl. “There is evidence that the user believed they were ingesting cocaine, but that it was really a blend of cocaine and fentanyl, or possibly pure powdered fentanyl,” reads the press release.