Fentanyl causes most overdose deaths in Central Florida, authorities say

FOX 35 News is learning that the most dangerous drugs are now coming across the border from Mexican drug cartels, and they’re making their way right onto the streets of Central Florida. 

They are often laced with the deadly synthetic, fentanyl, and it’s causing a record number of overdose deaths, including locally.

"One thing led to another and it became pills and eventually heroin," Jackie Siegal, the famous Central Floridian who is featured in The Queen of Versailles documentary, said.

Siegal knows the pain of drug addiction too well. Her daughter, Victoria, died from an overdose in 2015 at 18-years-old.

Since then, the drug game has gotten even more dangerous, with fentanyl entering the picture.

"Drug addicts, they want to obtain that high and they’re willing to play Russian roulette," Siegal said.

According to numbers from Project Opioid in Central Florida, deadly overdoses are up 159% in Central Florida from 20-15 to 2021.

According to Project Opioid’s founder and CEO, Andrae Bailey, fentanyl is killing 90% of people dying from drug overdoses today. He said it’s coming from one specific place.

"When you look at those people who are dying of overdose, that’s almost exclusively drugs that are coming across the Mexican border that are driving these deaths," he said.

Bailey said Mexican cartels are importing fentanyl from China, then mixing it into pills or other drugs. Once the drugs make their way into our country, Bailey said there is no way of knowing.

"Now most of those pills are fake, counterfeit pills produced by the Mexican cartels that contain fentanyl, which we’ve learned many of them have a lethal dose and one pill can kill," Bailey said.

That’s why Bailey and others, like Jackie Siegal, are working tirelessly to educate kids and parents, so the same deadly mistakes don’t continue to repeat themselves.

"If you experiment with drugs, you’re probably taking fentanyl and you are putting your life at risk with every dose, every pill you take," Bailey said.

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