Burlington police are expressing concern after three fatal overdoses occurred over a five-day period, and want to advise caution to those who use illicit drugs.

These deaths come on the heels of news from California that four deaths in a 24-hour period were blamed on oxycodone that contained fentanyl, a drug experts say can be 100 times more potent than morphine.

Police in Burlington say the recent deaths may be due to coincidence, and there is no firm reason to believe they are due to an influx of a particularly lethal drug. They say that three deaths in five days is still a cause for concern.

Police have laid out ‘safe drug consumption practices’ that they say can reduce the chances of a fatal overdose. When using illicit drugs, they stress four important points:

  • Never consume alone
  • Always have naloxone on hand and know how to administer it
  • Do not hesitate to call 911 in the event of overdose: Vermont’s Good Samaritan law will prevent your arrest for drug violations
  •  Use fentanyl test strips to know what you are taking and make educated decisions

People who seek medication-assisted treatment to reduce the chances of overdose and begin the road to recovery can enroll in it at any time via the UVM Medical Center Emergency Department as a walk-in, or during business hours at Howard Center Safe Recovery at 45 Clarke Street. The Howard Center presently does not have a waiting list for treatment at its Hub facility (Chittenden Clinic), and can coordinate enrollment via Safe Recovery.