SAUGUS, Calif. (KABC) -- Five people were hospitalized Tuesday afternoon after overdosing on fentanyl and being found in two parked cars at a park in the Saugus neighborhood of Santa Clarita, authorities said.
The first two overdoses were reported shortly before 4:30 p.m. at Bouquet Canyon Park on Wellston Drive, where one of the victims administered Narcan, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Narcan is a medicine that is used to rapidly reverse an opioid overdose.
Los Angeles County firefighter-paramedics transported the two patients to a hospital.
Almost 90 minutes later, another fentanyl overdose was reported, this time involving three other individuals, the Sheriff's Department. They too were hospitalized.
Investigators said two of the patients were women and the other three were men. Three of the five were arrested for possession of fentanyl for sale, authorities said.
Updates on their conditions were not immediately available.
Nearly 2,000 homeless people died in the city from April 2020 to March 2021, a 56% increase from the previous year, according to a report released by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Overdose was the leading cause of death, killing more than 700.
Fentanyl was developed to treat intense pain from ailments like cancer. Use of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that is cheap to produce and is often sold as is or laced in other drugs, has exploded. Because it's 50 times more potent than heroin, even a small dose can be fatal.
It has quickly become the deadliest drug in the nation, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Two-thirds of the 107,000 overdose deaths in 2021 were attributed to synthetic opioids like fentanyl, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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