5 women overdose on fentanyl at New Jersey mall, police say

Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 5:14 AM CDT
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HACKENSACK, N.J. (News 12 New Jersey) - Police say five female employees at a New Jersey mall had to be revived Wednesday after they ingested and overdosed on fentanyl.

On Wednesday night, the Hackensack Police Department, fire officials and EMS responded to an emergency call at the Shops at Riverside for reports that multiple people suffered apparent drug overdoses.

Good Samaritans used life-saving equipment on the victims while waiting for the first responders, who then administered naloxone when they arrived.

“They did what they were taught to do and they saved a life, along with these civilians that were on scene,” Capt. Mike Antista of the Hackensack Police Department said.

Police said five female mall employees between the ages 29 through 41 used fentanyl and were unconscious.

“This is not a random incident in the mall. The stores within the mall are safe, and there is no danger to the public,” Antista said.

Four of the five women were taken to Hackensack University Medical Center. One of the victims refused medical aid, according to officials.

The belief is that the women did not know they were ingesting drugs that were laced with fentanyl.

“We’re seeing this all over the country. We talk about this as overdoses, but it’s more about poisoning. A lot of the folks that are victims of this don’t know what they’re taking,” police director Ray Guidetti said.

One nearby resident said she has heard of this type of drug use taking place at certain areas of the mall.

“It definitely is known for a lot of drug use, the lower levels. It’s definitely a place where people go. They had to use Narcan on all of them, which is so scary,” nearby resident Brianna Bruce says.

The evidence found at the scene is at a lab being tested.