West Point Cadets Remain Hospitalized From Fentanyl-Codeine Overdose

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West Point
Courtesy of Gurney Halleck (Flickr CC0)

Six West Point cadets have overdose signs of what was assumed to be cocaine mixed with fentanyl. The United States Military Academy is aware of the involvement of the cadets. Broward County, Florida, police officers captured the 21-year-old man in association with the drug trading that stimulated overdoses, according to CNN affiliate WPLG.

Wilton Manors Police Department (WMPD) affirmed that the scene occurred on Thursday in Wilton Manor’s holiday rental house. Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue (FLFR) responded around 5 p.m. and assisted the six West Point cadets. Four of these cadets required hospitalization, but two were on ventilators and in critical condition as of Friday night. The seventh patient was a woman transported to the nearest hospital after feeling ill.

Two bystanders also went into respiratory arrest after performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Emergency medical workers administered Narcan, an anti-overdose medication.

Police stated that the West Point cadets were in Fort Lauderdale on Spring Break. However, on Saturday morning, West Point director Lt. Col. Beth Smith of communications and public affairs told CNN that five of the West Point six cadets were mixed up in the incident.

According to the arrest report, Broward County Drug Task Force detectives obtained the alleged dealer’s cellphone number as part of the investigation.

The report reads that an undercover detective purchased 43 grams of cocaine with Axel Axel Giovany Casseus on Friday in exchange for $1,000, the report said. Casseus was charged with trafficking cocaine.

West Point
Courtesy of World Police Vehicles (Flickr CC0)

During the Saturday bond hearing, a Broward County deputy pinpointed Casseus as the man who sold the substance to the West Point cadets. After being taken into custody, Casseus confessed to his involvement with the West Point students, according to the CNN-affiliate WPLG.

It is unclear whether Casseus has an attorney, but he is held on a $50,000 bond in the Broward County Jail.

Police confirmed that the students were on Spring Break and were vacationing in Fort Lauderdale. These West Point students are from New York, but no names have been released.

The WMPD officers said they evacuated and secured the residents because of the unidentified substance in a press release. No further information about the cadets has been released.

Fentanyl Drugs

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 100 times stronger than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin. The United States Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) reports that fentanyl resembles prescription drugs and is added by drug dealers because of its potency, making it more powerful, cheaper, more dangerous, and more addictive.

There are two types of fentanyl, the pharmaceutical variety prescribed by doctors for pain and the illegally manufactured drug. According to the CDC, the recent fentanyl-related overdose was manufactured.

Drug overdose deaths

Drug overdose deaths driven by fentanyl tops 100,000 annually for the first time, according to CDC data. There was a 28.5% spike from April 2020 to April 2021, with last year alone as the record high of overdose deaths. Federal research revealed that Americans died of drug overdoses when the pandemic circulated across the country.

WMPD warned those on Spring Break about the dangers of using illicit drugs and mixing them with other medications or with alcohol.

Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

CNN: 5 West Point cadets overdose on fentanyl during spring break, police say; by Melissa Alonso and Amanda Musa
The New York Times: West Point Cadets Overdose During Spring Break in Florida, Officials Say; by Vimal Patel
Miami Herald: Arrest in fentanyl overdoses of West Point cadets in Florida

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Gurney Halleck’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of World Police Vehicles’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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