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N4T Investigators: Overdose Overload

TUCSON – Police arrested the woman who provided pills to 4 overdose victims last month.

Aaron Chavez died from fentanyl intoxication, according to the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner. He was at a Halloween party on Idaho Street near 12th Avenue and Irvington Road. Three others were treated with naloxone and taken to a hospital.

A grand jury indicted 21-year-old Jocelyn Sanchez for transporting and transferring narcotics. She brought 1,000 pills across the border from Nogales for $200, according to court records.

Capt. John Leavitt leads the Counter Narcotics Alliance, which is a group of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. He said police found fake pills at the home where Chavez died.

“Five years ago we would have looked at an overdose like this as just a tragedy, and we would have moved on to other cases,” Leavitt said.

Leavitt said there are no legitimate pharmaceutical painkillers on the Tucson black market right now. They are all counterfeits made with fentanyl. Fentanyl has been found in just about every illegal drug, and it is commonly found in fake Xanax pills lately.

“There is absolutely no safe harbor for drug use now,” Leavitt said.

Josh Depew is recovering from drug addiction. He works with others who are fighting addiction.

“Opiates were absolutely my worst addiction, hands down,” Depew said, “because of the physical withdrawal symptoms that come with it.”

Despite the fact that fentanyl is becoming so common, Depew is concerned that warning will not deter enough people.

“When I was doing drugs I had absolutely no regard for my safety,” he said.

Leavitt and Depew both side treatment for addiction is widely available now.

Sam Salzwedel

Sam Salzwedel is an investigative reporter at News 4 Tucson – KVOA.

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