2 Arrests Made After Teens Die From Apparent Overdose On Counterfeit Pills

Police in Venus, located in Johnson County, made the arrest of the two suspects following the deaths of the two boys in March.

Video Transcript

- Two 16-year-olds are under arrest as we go on the air, charged in connection with the overdose deaths of two teenagers in the town of Venus. It happened last month. The victims, who were also 16, are believed to have taken counterfeit oxycodone pills that were laced with fentanyl. Andrea Lucia gets us underway on this growing problem.

ANDREA LUCIA: In the town of Venus, the deaths of two 16-year-olds in two separate incidents over spring break caught the community by surprise. Venus Police and the multiagency special crime unit STOP have now arrested two teens, also 16, who are believed to have provided the drugs to the victims. Witnesses in both cases told police the boys thought they were taking oxycodone. The investigators suspect the pills actually contained a much more powerful dose of fentanyl.

MATT ZAVADSKY: And we were very surprised.

ANDREA LUCIA: When MedStar checked the number of accidental opioid overdoses its treated recently, it found numbers had jumped significantly compared to the previous year. In January, they even tripled.

MATT ZAVADSKY: So to have this level of increase over the last three months, the last 12 months, is very disconcerting.

ANDREA LUCIA: Fentanyl, police believe, is the biggest culprit. Traffickers have been using it to create counterfeit oxycodone pills, as the real prescription pain drug has become harder for them to find. But it's much easier for victims to accidentally overdose on pills produced on the black market.

MATT ZAVADSKY: There's a lot of variability in what they could be getting, what they could be taking.

ANDREA LUCIA: MedStar keeps the opioid antidote Narcan readily available. It's delivered through the nose.

MATT ZAVADSKY: And oftentimes, we have patients that will be unresponsive, not breathing. We give them Narcan, and in just a few minutes, they are awake, conscious, and they refuse transport to the hospital.

ANDREA LUCIA: It looks a little bit different than this, but you can purchase the same type of Narcan that MedStar uses over-the-counter at most pharmacies. In fact, if you have a family member you suspect might be at risk, they say it's a good idea to have some on hand, just in case of an overdose. MedStar says its overdose patients have ranged from 16 to 84 years old. Most are men, and like the victims in Venus, often young ones. In Tarrant County, Andrea Lucia, CBS11 News.