Misuse of Pain Patches Linked to East TN Deaths

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Updated: 4/25 6:43 pm
EAST TN, (WDEF)-They have been offering pain relief for 20 years but recently have become a way to get a quick cheap high.

John Swann, Pulmonaire Service Pharmacy,"I assume it could make you euphoric, hallucinate and so forth and maybe that's what some people want"

Three men ranging in age from late 20s to mid 40s were found dead in Athens after absorbing the patches through their mouths and on their backs in recent weeks.

The prescription  medication is meant to be released only on the skin over a 3 day period and with medical supervision.

John, Swann, Pulmonaire Service Pharmacy,"The gel that is in between two patches is slowly released typically if you bite into it, it's like a loading dose and you get way too much at one time and that's what leads to coma or even death"

At TC Thompson Children's hospital they say kids and adolescents are taking pain patches for recreational purposes

Dr Mark Rowin, Pediatrics "There are children that get admitted to my ICU who have been in fentanyl patch parties, they open up these patches they chew on them, they get high"

Dr Rowin says some have severe respiratory problems due to over dosing on the patches.

"Fentanyl patches are a relatively new thing, we don't see them as much as we see clonidine ingestion as much as we see cocaine or cold medicine intentional ingestion, but they are gaining in popularity"

A homicide investigation has also been launched after a 2 year old Chattanooga infant was found dead with a patch on his back.

Doctors say children should not be exposed to medication this intense without extreme supervision.

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