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By Dennis Romero

A man died Saturday and 12 people were hospitalized in what authorities in Northern California described as a mass casualty overdose on the powerful narcotic fentanyl.

Four of the victims were in critical condition, said Mike O’Brien, a police captain in Chico, California.

“Certainly there’s potential for additional fatalities,” he said at a news conference. “I want to emphasize that.”

Two police officers who responded became ill and were treated and released from a hospital, O’Brien said.

Chico Fire Department Chief Steven Standridge said the officers were “potentially exposed” to the drug, a synthetic opioid often imported on the black market from China and Mexico to be used as a filler in heroin and other street narcotics.



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