2 Dead From Suspected Overdoses; Hazmat Crews Respond

Two people have died from suspected overdoses in a Massachusetts apartment, prompting a hazardous materials team response, according to authorities.

The overdose victims died on Gardner Street in Lawrence. Police had the drugs found at the scene tested and determined them to be a mixture of cocaine and fentanyl.

No carfentanil was present, state police said in a press release around 6:30 p.m. Monday. But the deaths raised new concerns about the lethal substance that has rarely been used in Massachusetts.

"Thankfully, we haven't seen carfentanil in the city of Lawrence," said Chief James Fitzpatrick of the Lawrence Police Department. "Thankful for that."

Carfentanil is a synthetic opioid that is approximately 100 times more potent than fentanyl, which has often been the cause of overdose deaths around the country.

According to Fitzpatrick, police received a call from a man Monday morning who stated he had taken cocaine the night before that may have been laced with carfentanil. Upon arrival to the apartment on Garden Street, police found two other males dead from apparent overdoses and a white substance sitting on a dollar bill.

"Unfortunately, we are seeing this way too often," Fitzpatrick said of drug-related deaths. "Not only in the city of Lawrence, but throughout the region."

Due to safety concerns about the substance, police sent a hazmat unit into the building to determine what dangers may be present. 

"We have to go through these extremes now because these drugs are so dangerous," Fitzpatrick explained.

Several people living in a bottoms floor apartment of the property were evacuated without any injuries. According to Fitzpatrick, the man who called them suffered some nerve damage and was transported to Lawrence General Hospital.

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