WESTFIELD, Ind. — The Westfield Police Department is issuing a stark warning about a dangerous, new drug that has killed two people and caused two teenagers to overdose.
The drug is formally known as N-pyrrolidino etonitazene but is known on the streets as “Pyro.” It’s a highly potent, synthetic opioid that police say is 10 time stronger than fentanyl and 1000 times stronger than morphine.
“It’s very scary stuff when you’re talking about pyro,” said Mike Gannon, Assistant Special Agent In-Charge at the DEA Indianapolis office.
Westfield police said the drug first emerged in Colorado in the middle of 2022. By the end of last year it had made its way to Indiana and is now in Westfield’s backyard.
“Typically drugs like this follow major corridors,” Lt. Billy Adams with Westfield Police said. “So I-70 being one of those corridors so that usually starts in the city and branches out down those main highways.”
Westfield Police said they’ve seen two incidents involving Pyro in the past three to four days. Those two incidents involved two teenagers overdosing on pills laced with Pyro.
Earlier this year, the Hamilton County Coroner said a 31-year-old Westfield man overdosed and died after taking a similar pill. A 28-year-old man in Noblesville also overdosed and Pyro-laced pills were found at the scene.
“The fact that it’s an unknown drug and an unknown potency really kind of multiplies that danger level,” Lt. Adams said.
Pyro is cut into pills that are made to look like medications such as oxycodone and Percocet. That resemblance to legitimate medications is what has officials so concerned.
“Anytime you see a fake prescription pill that’s being sold by a drug dealer on the street, you just don’t know what you’re getting,” Gannon explained. “If you’re getting pills and you’re getting them illegally, you’re rolling the dice every time.”
Gannon said it’s concerning to see such a powerful drug circulating on the streets given how devastating fentanyl has been to communities across the country.
“At the level that pyro is, you are really looking to kill somebody if you ever gave them that,” Gannon said. “It’s bad enough with the pills that are out there with fentanyl.”
Both Dannon and Adams said preventing overdoses, especially among teenagers, has to start with tough conversations.
“When it comes to these types of drugs, we can’t have the ‘not my kid’ attitude,” Adams said.
In several instances, these drugs are being purchased by kids online and through social media. Adams said people who think it can’t happen in their community are kidding themselves.
“We have to have those conversations because it could be our kids. It could be friends of our kids,” Adams said.
The DEA does provide resources for parents on how to talk to their children about drugs. You can find more information here.