There's a new drug on the streets that is so powerful, even a few grains can be deadly. It's called fentanyl and it has already killed three Vermonters.
"We're really putting everything we have into this because we want to make sure we identify the source of the fentanyl and we want to identify the people who are trafficking it," said Lt. Matt Birmingham, the commander of the Vt. State Police Drug Task Force.
Fentanyl is generally used to treat cancer patients. The Vermont Health Department says the narcotic is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin-- a recipe for an overdose. And these deaths from pure fentanyl are the first of their kind in the state.
"When you take a dose of heroin and it happens to be fentanyl, you're getting 50 times the dose, making it more likely that you're going to overdose and die," said Dr. Harry Chen, the commissioner of the Vt. Department of Health.
Experts say some addicts use it to enhance their high, but others might not even know it's in their drugs. Police say in Addison County it's being illegally sold and packaged as heroin.
"This new phenomenon of fentanyl is something that law enforcement across the country is trying to manage now. A lot of the fentanyl we're seeing is being sold as heroin, so on the street people are buying it as heroin. They believe it to be heroin," Birmingham said.
It has already proved deadly in other states, like in western Pennsylvania, where last month, at least 22 people died from fentanyl-laced heroin. Vermont State Police say they're working to figure out where this drug is coming from so they can stop it.
"We want to get ahead of that as fast as we can and make sure we identify the source of it, but at this time we don't know exactly where this fentanyl is coming from," Birmingham said.
In the deaths reported in other states, it's not unusual for someone who has injected heroin containing fentanyl to be found dead with the needle still in their arm; police say it works that fast.
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:56 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:56:33 GMT
Flags were flying on the Statehouse steps Sunday afternoon as more than 500 people gathered for the Gun Owners of Vermont Rally."Vermonters -- not just hunting Vermonters who happen to have firearms forMore >>
A trio of gun control measures may have gotten the green light from Burlington voters on Town Meeting Day, but the charter changes face strong opposition across the state, and a possible uphill battle at the Statehouse.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:43 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:43:32 GMT
Is the marketing behind Electronic Cigarettes aimed at kids?New York Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) says the industry's trendy packaging and flavors like bubble gum and cotton candy aren't foolingMore >>
Schumer is co-sponsoring a Senate bill that would ban e-cigarette marketing aimed at kids.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:42 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:42:02 GMT
Senator Bernie Sanders is among a group of Senators set to hold an "all-nighter" to call attention to climate Change.Members of the so-called Senate Climate Action Task Force -- nearly two dozen in allMore >>
Senator Bernie Sanders is among a group of Senators set to hold an "all-nighter" to call attention to climate Change.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:40 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:40:46 GMT
A Chimney fire is the likely cause of a blaze that destroyed a home in St. Albans Town.The owner of the home on Pike Drive called for help a little after 9:30 a.m. Sunday. When firefighters arrived theyMore >>
A Chimney fire is the likely cause of a blaze that destroyed a home in St. Albans Town.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:38 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:38:52 GMT
Jazz fingers, dance moves -- and plenty of passion. The Urban Reach Dance Convention is giving aspiring dancers the chance to learn from some of the music industry's most acclaimed teachers, who have workedMore >>
Aspiring dancers hit the floor this weekend at the 8th annual Urban Reach Dance Convention.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 6:08 PM EDT2014-03-09 22:08:59 GMT
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County. CCTA officials told us in a statement that after 19 hours of negotiations that went into the morningMore >>
Sunday morning CCTA officials announced that after a marathon negotiation session they delivered a complete contract proposal to the union.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 2:52 PM EDT2014-03-09 18:52:05 GMT
Governor Peter Shumlin was in Rhode Island over the weekend. His office says the Governor was at Brown University in Providence taking part in a forum with the Rhode Island Governor. He is expected toMore >>
Governor Peter Shumlin was in Rhode Island over the weekend.More >>