Tampa police responded to an emergency call Tuesday night in which they found six people either unresponsive or in respiratory distress because they took a dose of “bad drugs,” the department said in a news release Wednesday.
The drugs the people took contained the powerful painkiller fentanyl, which has been in the spotlight recently after the drug killed nine people over Fourth of July weekend in rural Gadsden County in the Florida Panhandle.
Police said they were summoned at about 9:51 p.m. Tuesday to the area of Jackson’s Meat Market at Osborne Avenue and N 34th Street.
“When officers arrived, they found six people on the ground,” the news release states. “All of them were having a difficult time breathing and several were unresponsive.”
Officers deployed Narcan, which is used to revive people overdosing on drugs, and Tampa Fire Rescue took the people to a nearby hospital, the department said.
Meanwhile, officers were called to the 3200 block of E 38th Avenue to a report of another person not breathing because of a bad reaction to drugs. Officers soon learned that the person had also come from the area of the market. That person also was hospitalized.
All seven people were conscious and breathing at the hospital, police said.
Police later arrested Albert Wyche, 42, on a charge of delivery of a controlled substance. He was being held without bail at the Hillsborough County jail on Wednesday, records show.
An investigation is still underway, police said.
In addition to fentanyl, the drugs also contained xylazine, which the Drug Enforcement Administration says is used as a sedative, analgesic and muscle relaxer by veterinarians.
“It is used on many different animal species such as cattle, sheep, horses, dogs, cats, deer, rats and elk to calm and facilitate handling, perform diagnostic and surgical procedures, relieve pain or act as a local anesthetic,” the agency says of the drug.