A suburban community is left mourning the deaths of two young men of a potential drug overdose, with experts saying that an influx of laced and counterfeit drugs into the U.S. has left a trail of devastation in its wake.
The two men were both graduates of Fenwick High School in suburban Oak Park. Both were found dead by police in a downtown Chicago apartment on Sept. 19 when authorities were called to the building in the 1100 block of North Wells for a well-being check.
Both 25-year-old Ryan Joseph Masi and 24-year-old Michael Beaudin were found unresponsive inside the apartment, and both were pronounced dead from a possible drug overdose.
A third man was taken to an area hospital, police said.
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While the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office has yet to identify the exact cause of death, pending toxicology reports, law enforcement officials say that drug paraphernalia was found at the scene.
Federal law enforcement officials say that there’s been a rise in overdose deaths across the U.S. in recent months, both from drugs laced with fentanyl and from counterfeit fentanyl.
“fentanyl is a very powerful synthetic drug that is driving an overdose death crisis in the United States,” DEA Special Agent Robert Bell said.
The DEA has launched a public safety campaign called “One Pill Can Kill,” which seeks to educate the public that a lethal dose of fentanyl can be extremely small, as little as two milligrams.
Seizures of counterfeit fentanyl are up at the U.S.-Mexico border, and federal officers are trying their best to stem the tide.
“You are looking at an influx of this drug into America, and it is damaging communities left and right,” Steven Bansbach with US Customs and Border Protection said.