On Oct. 30, the Hyattsville Police Department announced fentanyl overdose as the cause of death for three men who died in late August.

The three men, 45-year-old Julian Martinez Aguirrez, 37-year-old Walter Cáceres Fuentes and 30-year-old Jose Rios Escobar, were found unconscious outside an apartment complex in the 5700 block of Queens Chapel Road on the night of Aug. 24. Although medics performed CPR and administered Narcan, a nasal spray designed to treat opioid overdoses, the men did not regain consciousness.

Autopsies showed that Aguirrez and Fuentes died due to alcohol intoxication and fentanyl overdose, while Escobar died only of fentanyl overdose. No evidence of recreational drugs was found near the three men, and police are still investigating the source of the fentanyl.

On Nov. 2, Hyattsville police announced a Northwestern High School student was found unconscious in a bathroom, and was revived by a faculty member who administered Narcan. According to the police, this was the second teen drug overdose in three days in the City of Hyattsville. The other teen also received Narcan and survived.

Fentanyl is a strong synthetic opioid. While it has legitimate medical uses, it is also often manufactured and distributed illicitly, sometimes disguised as other recreational or prescription drugs. Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are responsible for many overdose deaths every year, and the number of overdose deaths is increasing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the Hyattsville police statement, recent opioid overdoses in the city have involved people who thought they were taking Percocet, a prescription painkiller that combines oxycodone and acetaminophen. The police ask anyone with information about the sale of narcotics to call 301.985.5050.