Yesterday, TBI and Murfreesboro Police held a joint press conference announcing that they had made one of the largest busts of heroin in Tennessee history. According to TBI News:

Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Drug Investigation Division joined detectives with the Murfreesboro Police Department and investigators with the DEA Task Force in a joint investigation, resulting in the arrest of two individuals charged with heroin possession.

Beginning in 2015, detectives and Special Agents developed information about a shipment of heroin that was scheduled to be delivered from Denver, Colorado, for distribution in Murfreesboro. Information developed during the course of the investigation led Agents and detectives to a vehicle located in a Murfreesboro hotel parking lot. A search of the vehicle revealed approximately five kilograms of heroin.

On Saturday, January 23rd, Special Agents and detectives arrested Elizabeth Castillo, 30, (below left), and Rosalinda Vallejo, 43, both of Colorado. The two women were each charged with one count of Possession of Heroin for Resale. They were booked into the Rutherford County Jail, where they are each being held on a $1,000,000 bond.

According to a statement, a recent trend of Fentanyl and heroin laced products have reached epidemic levels in the states. So much so, there is a special Senate meeting on the subject this morning. Here’s what we found at drugabuse.gov

Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opiate analgesic similar to but more potent than morphine. It is typically used to treat patients with severe pain, or to manage pain after surgery. It is also sometimes used to treat people with chronic pain who are physically tolerant to opiates. It is a schedule II prescription drug.

Fentanyl Names

In its prescription form, fentanyl is known as Actiq, Duragesic, and Sublimaze. Street names for the drug include Apache, China girl, China white, dance fever, friend, goodfella, jackpot, murder 8, TNT, as well as Tango and Cash.

Fentanyl Effects

Like heroin, morphine, and other opioid drugs, fentanyl works by binding to the body’s opiate receptors, highly concentrated in areas of the brain that control pain and emotions. When opiate drugs bind to these receptors, they can drive up dopamine levels in the brain’s reward areas, producing a state of euphoria and relaxation. Medications called opiate receptor antagonists act by blocking the effects of opiate drugs. Naloxone is one such antagonist. Overdoses of fentanyl should be treated immediately with an opiate antagonist.

When prescribed by a physician, fentanyl is often administered via injection, transdermal patch, or in lozenge form. However, the type of fentanyl associated with recent overdoses was produced in clandestine laboratories and mixed with (or substituted for) heroin in a powder form.

Mixing fentanyl with street-sold heroin  or cocaine (known as speed balling) markedly amplifies their potency and potential dangers. Effects include: euphoria, drowsiness/respiratory depression and arrest, nausea, confusion, constipation, sedation, unconsciousness, coma, tolerance, and addiction.