Patients, N.C. Crew Deconned After Exposure to Drug

Feb. 25--Two women were pulled from a home off Bunce Road on Monday after they opened a package containing suspected heroin laced with fentanyl, a powerful synthetic drug blamed for recent deaths in North Carolina.

Capt. Anthony Kelly said the women had been waiting on the package "about three days" and had ingested some of the drugs prior to officers arriving.

Fentanyl is an injected illegal opiate that resembles heroin but is much more potent.

Police were called at 2:52 p.m. about suspicious activity at 6433 Wilson Ave., off Bunce Road in west Fayetteville.

A fiance of one of the victims found both women unresponsive in the home with two children present, Kelly said.

Firefighters pulled the women from the mobile home when police arrived, Officer Antoine Kincade said.

Fentanyl is blamed for three deaths last month in Sampson, Person and Transylvania counties.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention alerted public health agencies and emergency departments in June to be on the lookout for the drug and to have adequate supplies of an emergency antidote.

The alert came after Rhode Island officials reported 14 overdose deaths from the drug last year. There have been dozens of other deaths in Pennsylvania, Louisiana and elsewhere.

Ron Seaford, who lives on Bunce Road and about 1,000 feet from the Wilson Avenue home, said he watched from about 200 feet away as the women were rescued.

"They (firefighters) pulled them out, laid them on the ground and started working on them," Seaford said.

Both women were sprayed with water to wash off any contaminants before they were taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, according to authorities. Information about their condition was not immediately available.

Kelly said officers are trying to find out how the two women ingested the toxin. He said there were no signs of an explosion.

"We don't know how it got inside their bodies," Kelly said. "It appeared to be a voluntary encounter."

Rescue personnel who went into the home were decontaminated, too, said Battalion Chief Brian Mims of the Fayetteville Fire Department.

State and local hazardous material teams were called, and Police Chief Harold Medlock arrived about 4:45 p.m. Investigators wore special protective gear as they searched the home.

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