State officials announced that two recent apparent drug overdose cases in Madison County were the result of drugs containing dangerous ingredients associated with counterfeit drugs.

Two recent Madison County drug overdose deaths, one in the city of Madison and the other in Ridgeland, have been associated with counterfeit drugs, according to a joint statement issued by the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and the Mississippi Forensics Laboratory last Friday.

Local police departments are not releasing the names of the victims at this time as they are part of an ongoing investigation.

Capt. Kevin Newman with the MPD said that the incident occurred on Nov. 25. Ridgeland Police Chief John Neal said that the particular incident happened on Dec. 15. He said that they are not releasing the name of the victim at this time as it is part of an ongoing investigation. 

MBN Director John Dowdy emphasized the importance of obtaining powerful drugs from pharmaceutical professionals through a pharmacy. 

“As in previous alerts, I want to remind everybody to not take any kind of drug that is not obtained from a pharmacy,” Dowdy said. “The consequences of using non-prescribed medication could result in death.”

Earlier in December, the MBN and Ridgeland Police Department along with the Madison County coroner responded to a Ridgeland residence where they found a man unconscious. Officials later pronounced him dead from a suspected drug overdose.

Neal did say that the victim was male and 26 years of age. He said that the victim was found by a neighbor. A female, the deceased’s girlfriend, was also found at the scene showing signs of an overdose. She received medical treatment on scene and was released.

At the scene, Dowdy said, investigators found several dosage units of what appeared to be oxycodone hydrochloride, an opioid analgesic.

Lab analysis determined the suspected oxycodone hydrochloride was actually carfentanil. Dowdy claims that carfentanil, a fentanyl analogue, is 10,000 times more potent than morphine.

The first incident occurred in November when the MBN and Madison Police Department along with the Madison County coroner responded to a Madison residence where they found a man unresponsive. .

At the scene, investigators found almost a dozen dosage units of what appeared to be Xanax, a brand of alprazolam used to treat anxiety and panic disorders, according to Dowdy.

Subsequent lab analysis determined the suspected Xanax was actually clonazolam. Although chemically related to alprazolam, clonazolam is reported to be more than two times as potent as alprazolam. 

“According to analysts, ingesting only a half milligram of clonazolam can lead to amnesia and/or loss of consciousness,” Dowdy said.