The area around Sigler Park in Westminster was blocked off and evacuated after discovery of an incident of what’s suspected to be fentanyl exposure.
According to the Westminster Police Department, officers were sent to the park located at 7200 Plaza St., around 5:55 p.m. Saturday in response to reports of “multiple people” down and unconscious near the restrooms.
Officers found five people “unresponsive” and they were treated with “Narcan,” a nasal spray used to treat opioid overdose victims. The park, one of the oldest in West Orange County, was evacuated and the area condoned off.
Several companies from the Orange County Fire Authority – which provides firefighting and paramedic services to Westminster as well as Garden Grove and Stanton – responded and those affected were taken to local hospitals for further treatment.
They are reported as all being in stable condition and no other persons were harmed. An OCFA Hazmat team was deployed and the Orange County Health Care Agency also assisted in the response.
The incident is considered to be isolated and there’s no danger to the public, according to the WPD, but an investigation into the possible exposure to fentanyl is underway.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid similar to morphine but which is considered to be 50 to 100 times more potent. According to the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, it’s intended to be used to treat people with severe or chronic pain.
It’s illegally sold often as a powder, dropped onto blotter paper and put in eye droppers and nasal sprays as well as formed into pills. It’s considered highly addictive.
Synthetic opioids such as fentanyl are the most common cause of drug overdose deaths in the U.S., according to the DEA. Overdoses can cause breathing to stop or slow as well as result in brain damage, coma or death.