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The Blaze
The Blaze
1 Apr 2023

NextImg:Police arrest 2 suspects after 5 mall employees overdose on fentanyl-laced drugs and 1 dies

Police have arrested two suspects in connection with the overdose death of a Cheesecake Factory employee, WPIX reported .

"She was a single mom. She did everything for her daughter. Her daughter meant everything to her. Her daughter was nine years old," one woman said of 29-year-old Michelle Edoo of Bergenfield, New Jersey.

Edoo worked at the Cheesecake Factory at The Shops at Riverside Mall. She died three days after she and four female colleagues ingested fentanyl-laced cocaine in the lower level parking lot of the upscale mall in Hackensack, New Jersey, the New York Post reported.

Bergen County Sheriff's Office officials say one suspect was charged with distribution of narcotics, and the other with possession with intent to sell, WPIX reported.

Shoppers found the woman unconscious in the parking garage, CBS News reported. First responders administered Narcan and performed CPR. Naloxone, also called Narcan, is a medicine used to reverse opioid overdoses. It is often administered in the form of a nasal spray.

All five women were revived via the emergency measures. Four were transported to the hospital. One woman refused transport. Edoo died 3 days later.

"You have to assume that any drug, whether powder, pill, or vegetation, that is bought on the street or that is shared on the street contains fentanyl and it can kill you," said Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella at a press conference.

Police said the woman may not have known the substance they took was laced with fentanyl. Dealers regularly cut more expensive drugs with cheaper fentanyl, the outlet also reported.

"A lot of the folks that are victims, they just don't know exactly what they're taking, and it may very well be illicit drugs or it may be something else. And even if it's the illicit drugs, they have no idea they may be taking fentanyl. It's the mass poisoning that we're concerned about," Hackensack Police Director Ray Guidetti said.

"I don’t think there’s ever been a more dangerous time in our society regarding overdose fatalities than there are right now," Bergen County Chief of Detectives Jason Love told WPIX.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Narcan for over-the-counter use Wednesday.

"Naloxone is a critical tool in addressing opioid overdoses and today’s approval underscores the extensive efforts the agency has undertaken to combat the overdose crisis," said Patrizia Cavazzoni, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Watch WCBS's coverage of the overdoses in the parking garage of The Shops at Riverside mall in Hackensack, New Jersey below.

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