What makes fentanyl so dangerous; police seize large supply in Springfield and Belchertown

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A massive amount of fentanyl was seized in Springfield this week, concluding a months-long investigation by the District Attorney.

Five people were arrested and two kilograms of fentanyl were seized. Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni said getting these drugs off the streets will help save lives in western Massachusetts.

What is fentanyl?

Pharmaceutical fentanyl is a legal, synthetic opioid pain reliever approved for treating severe pain, typically in advanced cancer patients. However, according to the CDC, most cases of fentanyl-related overdoses and deaths in the U.S. are linked to illegally made fentanyl.

It is often mixed with heroin or cocaine to increase the effects of the drugs; many times without the user’s knowledge.

“Fentanyl, as many people know, is an extraordinarily dangerous and lethal substance, sometimes 50 to 100 times more powerful than heroin itself,” explained Gulluni. “Literally, granules can prove to be fatal, especially for those not accustomed to opioids in their systems. It’s a very dangerous substance to even be around, let alone ingest.”

The Gandara Center says about two to three milligrams of fentanyl can be lethal; that’s roughly the size of five to seven grains of salt.

Hampden DA Anthony Gulluni said two kilograms of fentanyl could have been broken down into hundreds of thousands of individual use bags. In addition to the fentanyl, two kilograms of cocaine, 11 firearms, and approximately $12,000 was seized during the raid.

Mugshots and charges for the five suspects can be found here.