Maintenance Workers Killed by Mysterious Exposure to Fentanyl—Police

Two maintenance workers died in a high-rise Los Angeles apartment after a possible exposure to fentanyl, according to police.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) found the two men unconscious on Thursday morning while responding to a hazmat call in the 800 block of South Olive Street in downtown Los Angeles, local news station KNBC reported.

Once police arrived, the building’s manager said he received a call from one of the employees’ family members, who asked him to check on their relative, as he had not returned home overnight and remained unaccounted for. The manager found the two workers dead in a vacant apartment.

Police said they found a white powdery substance—believed to be fentanyl—near the two men. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), fentanyl is roughly 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. The agency said two milligrams of fentanyl is considered a “potentially fatal dose.”

Two maintenance workers in Los Angeles were found dead in a vacant apartment along with a substance believed to be fentanyl. Above, a plastic bag of assorted pills and prescription drugs dropped off for disposal sits in a container during the DEA’s 20th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, on April 24, 2021, in LA.
PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

“Both of those individuals are maintenance workers here, it looks like they went up into this room last night at around 5:45 p.m. to do some type of work,” Jeffrey Lee, an LAPD officer, told KNBC. “During the course of the investigation, there was a white powdery substance that was recovered from the room, and it has later tested positive for fentanyl.”

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There is not yet confirmation of a connection between the substance and the men’s deaths. Autopsies and toxicology tests will need to be performed on the bodies, processes that could take several weeks.

No arrests have been announced in connection to the men’s deaths at this time. The LAPD has not yet released the men’s identities.

Newsweek reached out to the LAPD for comment.

The DEA has marked the first-ever National Fentanyl Awareness Day on May 10, with DEA Administrator Anne Milgram calling the synthetic opioid the “single deadliest drug threat our nation has ever encountered.”

“Fentanyl is killing Americans at record rates. Many of them didn’t know they were taking the deadliest drug our country has ever seen,” Milgram said in a video. “They didn’t know how drug traffickers mix fentanyl in cocaine, in heroin, and in methamphetamine. They didn’t know that the prescription pill they bought from a dealer on social media was fake and actually contained fentanyl.”

“And they didn’t know just one pill can kill,” she added.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that over 100,000 drug overdoses had taken place in the U.S. over a 12-month period that ended in November 2021. Sixty-six percent of them involved synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.

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