Oct 23, 2021 2 mins, 15 secs

These famous names are just a few of the recent accidental overdose deaths linked to fentanyl. During the COVID-19 pandemic, more drugs have also been found contaminated with the deadly drug.

There are stories like Brenda Brett's, a beloved cousin and Georgia-native who relatives say had no idea she was taking Xanax laced with fentanyl.

"Drug dealers are maximizing their profits by lacing or contaminating drugs like heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine with fentanyl," Volkow said.

The increase was consistent with larger quantities of fentanyl being manufactured and positive fentanyl toxicology drug tests administered during COVID-19 the pandemic.

"Most of fentanyl overdoses are in combination with other drugs like heroine, cocaine and methamphetamine," Volkow said.

She said drug users who do not typically take opioids, but use cocaine or amphetamines, are at an increased risk of overdosing from fentanyl.

"They get the drug and unbeknownst to them, it is contaminated with fentanyl and they do not have the opioid tolerance.".

The contamination of fentanyl has increased in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic all the way down to urine collected by rehab facilities, according to Volkow.

The amount of fentanyl seized by U.S.

Some of the seizure made headlines like in Memphis where 2.85 kilograms of fentanyl were found in wooden display boxes shipped from Mexico and $182,000 in fentanyl was seized from within a vehicle during a routine examination at the Brownsville, Texas port of entry from Mexico. .

Although his addiction to the drug was lifted, a family tragedy reared fentanyl back into his life. 

The GBI told USA TODAY via email that determining a general concentration of how much fentanyl in a system is deadly, is determined on a case by case basis. 

"Saying for certain if she would be alive if fentanyl wasn't laced in the pill can't be determined because there are inherent risks with taking prescribed medications in the absence of a physician oversight and order."

"You take something you think is Xanax and it is laced with fentanyl," he said

"She had done enough drugs in her time to know the danger of taking fentanyl, and I don't think she would of voluntarily taken it," he said. 

Dietz said fentanyl being laced into other drugs is adding fuel to the growing opioid epidemic and being found everywhere. 

In most cases, it is very difficult for users to determine a drug is contaminated with fentanyl unless they use a drug testing tool available to users – a fentanyl strip test. 

"The use of strip can be very useful because many people taking stimulants do not seek out fentanyl," Volkow said. 

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