Feds say today’s cocaine likely contaminated with fentanyl


An informative ad campaign is underway in Northeast Ohio to inform people about a deadly combination of drugs.

Cocaine fentanyl billboard

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – An informative ad campaign is underway in Northeast Ohio to inform people about a deadly combination of drugs.

The campaign, which includes billboard advertising, features images of everyday food items such as bottled water, pretzels, donuts and trail mix with the wording: “If these contain fentanyl, would you eat them? They don’t. Your cocaine might.”

The campaign comes as Cuyahoga County is experiencing a record number of overdose deaths involving cocaine, either on its own or mixed with fentanyl. In 2019, nearly 60 percent of overdose deaths in the county were associated with cocaine.

Last year in Trumbull County, the deadly drug was circulating and showed up in toxicology reports of those who died of an accidental overdose.

Investigators believe many of the people who are dying are not addicted to opioids but rather cocaine users who do not realize the cocaine they ingest includes fentanyl.

The ad campaign was developed free of cost by Cleveland-based marketing company Marcus Thomas for the group Greater Than Heroin.

The U.S. District Attorney’s Ofice for the Northern District of Ohio provided funding for the billboards.

“Nobody should be using drugs like cocaine or heroin. Our office has filed a record number of drug indictments against the people who seek to profit from this epidemic,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman. “Yet we have to acknowledge the opioid crisis has set its sights on a new group of victims, those who use cocaine, with absolutely no idea that what they are about to take contains a deadly painkiller like fentanyl. Making the mistake of using cocaine should not result in a death sentence.”

The billboards can be viewed at these locations:

Digital Locations:

  • West 3 WS 150ft S/O St Clair Ave F/S
  • Ontario St WS 500ft N/O Carnegie Av F/N
  • East 14 St ES 380ft S/O Prospect Av F/S
  • Carnegie Av NS 200ft W/O East 46th F/W
  • Carnegie Av SS 200ft W/O East 14 St F/E
  • Lorain Av NS 950ft E/O West 25 St F/E

Static Locations:

  • I-71 NS 800ft S/O Denison Av F/W
  • Prospect Av NS 200ft W/O East 21 St F/E
  • I-90 SS 0.3 mi E/O Martin Luther King Drive F/E
  • West Shoreway SS 10ft W/O West 28 St F/E
  • Old River Rd ES 600ft S/O Main Av F/S
  • I-77 ES 1MI N/O I-480 F/N
  • I-90 NS 0.5mi E/O Bunts Rd F/E
  • East 9 St ES 100ft S/O Carnegie Av F/N

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