HACKENSACK, N.J. – In a distressing turn of events, law enforcement officials have reported that five female employees at a New Jersey mall had to be resuscitated on Wednesday after inadvertently ingesting and overdosing on fentanyl.
On Wednesday evening, the Hackensack Police Department, in conjunction with fire officials and emergency medical services, swiftly responded to an emergency call at the Shops at Riverside, where multiple individuals were reported to have suffered from apparent drug overdoses.
While waiting for the arrival of first responders, Good Samaritans utilized life-saving equipment to assist the victims. Upon their arrival, the responders promptly administered naloxone, a medication used to counteract the effects of opioid overdose.
“They did exactly what they were trained to do and were instrumental in saving lives, along with the civilians present at the scene,” remarked Capt. Mike Antista of the Hackensack Police Department.
Authorities have confirmed that the five female mall employees, ranging in age from 29 to 41, had consumed fentanyl and subsequently lost consciousness.
“It is important to note that this incident was not a random occurrence within the mall. The stores within the mall remain safe, and there is no imminent danger to the general public,” assured Antista.
Four of the five women were transported to Hackensack University Medical Center for further medical attention, while one victim declined medical aid, according to officials.
It is suspected that the women were unaware that the drugs they consumed had been laced with fentanyl.
“This is a problem we are witnessing nationwide. While we refer to it as overdoses, it is essentially poisoning. Many of the victims are unknowingly ingesting substances without being fully aware of their composition,” explained police director Ray Guidetti.
A nearby resident revealed that she had heard reports of drug-related activities taking place in specific areas of the mall.
“The lower levels of the mall are unfortunately known for a significant amount of drug use. It’s an area frequented by individuals engaged in such activities. The fact that Narcan had to be administered to all of them is truly alarming,” shared concerned resident Brianna Bruce.
The evidence collected at the scene is currently undergoing laboratory testing for further analysis and investigation.