Friday, July 12, 2024

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FACTCHECK: No Evidence of Fentanyl in Marijuana Edibles

We had reported a story a week back about some illicit edibles going around the suburbs of Philadelphia with trace amounts of fentanyl in the mix.

At the time, the only info out was a public health alert due to similar cases of overdoses, seemingly from edibles. The Director of Public Safety at Cabrini University, Joseph Fusco, sent an email to students at the school. News of the potential lacing spread like wildfire.

“We had students involved but not on campus,” said Brett Buckridge, Director of Residence Life at the school. “Other reports from Villanova were similar so we wanted to inform our students to make a safer community.”

However, it’s now coming out that the scare was potentialy just that: a baseless scare.

According to the student newspaper at Cabrini University, police officials confirmed that the cases of overdose at their school had no trace of fentanyl in their system.

“We have a report that three females in a vehicle on King of Prussia road had a reaction to edibles,” says a member of the Radnor County Drug Task Force. “We have concluded from the investigation that the gummy bears were in fact nothing else but cannabinoid.”

In the article at the University newspaper, more cases around the area are vaguely mentioned, therefore authorities are still looking into the matter. No sources are given for these other reports.

With the rise in fentanyl across the country, including a recent bust of carfentanyl (100 times stronger than fentanyl, which already is 50 times stronger than heroin) that had the potential to kill 50 million people, a growing public fear of the substance will continue to be prevalent. Health alerts or health warnings are certainly appropriate, as long as they don’t fuel policy based simply on snowballing rumor.

An article in Forbes from July talks about this issue.

The article, titled “Fentanyl-Tainted Marijuana Is A Myth That Refuses To Go Away” is much less sure of itself than the title suggests, noting a Santa Cruz Health Department report that claims fentanyl has been found in cannabis, and a case report in the Journal of the American Pharmacy Association in which a man switched weed dealers and subsequently no longer tested positive for fentanyl.

But most of the claims regarding fentanyl-laced weed in the article, mainly coming from Police Department sources, were found to not be entirely credible.

In almost every case, as in the case in the suburbs of Philadelphia, a rumor spreads about a strain of marijuana with trace amounts of fentanyl based on fear alone. Of course, this probably has occurred in the past, but at the very least, we can be certain that this will never occur as long as purchases are made in the legal market popping up in more and more states, across party lines.

Read the debunking of the Philly scare here, and the Forbes article here.


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