Carfentanil – Deadly Drug Used To Sedate Elephants Found On Ohio Streets
Carfentanil is a synthetic opioid up to 100 times stronger than fentanyl (10,000 stronger than morphine) and has most recently been found cut into heroin in Cincinnati. Both the Greater Cincinnati Fusion Centers and Hamilton County Heroin Coalition have issued warnings regarding the drug.
It’s also been blamed for a recent rash of overdoses in Columbus and Akron. Within three days, 25 overdoses (4 fatal) were reported in Akron. There were 10 in Columbus (2 fatal)
The Hamilton County Health Department has warned first responders, emergency personnel, and medical staff about the presence of the drug locally found in heroin.
The drug is so powerful, veterinarians must cover exposed areas such as face, hands and arms with masks, gloves, and aprons during handling. Even a small amount of exposure during accidental contact can be fatal.
An anti-overdose drug is often kept nearby, but may not always work, due to the drug’s potency. The drug is one of the most powerful on the planet, and is not indicated for use on humans.
To give you an idea of its potency, the drug is referenced in the 1997 movie “The Lost World” when it was used to tranquilize a T-rex.
It is not known whether the drug is being diverted from veterinarians or whether its being manufactured in clandestine labs. Also, many designer drugs are being manufactured in China and trafficked to the United States. The drug is so new to the streets, that until just recently it was not even on the radar for law enforcement.
The Opioid Epidemic
Synthetic opioids such as carfentanil are becoming more common because they are cheap and easy to make. And there’s currently a huge demand for opioid drugs, due to the prescription painkiller and heroin epidemic raging nationwide.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of drug overdose deaths now involve an opioid. Since 1999, overdose deaths from opioids have nearly quadrupled, and so have the amount of prescription opioids sold in the United States. The rapid increase in prescription painkillers is being blamed for the opioid epidemic in general.
The number of overdoses in Akron from carfentanil has now risen to over 200.
The Canton-Stark County Crime Lab has identified two samples of what is believed to carfentanil. They are first to be found in the county. One sample, from Perry Township, and was related to the overdose death of a 51-year old woman. Another was from Canal Fulton.
In the past two weeks, it is believed that there has been five fatal overdoses from carfentanil, but that cannot be ascertained until the results of the toxicology reports are known. At least two other persons miraculously survived the overdoses.
In Columbus, a man was charged last week for selling carfentanil, which led to two deaths and nine other overdoses. Many of the survivors thought they were getting heroin.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology
Update: Carfentanil Deaths Continue In 2017