Carfentanil, a sedative used for elephants and other large animals, is now being linked to a rash of heroin overdoses in Ohio cities.
This drug is known to be 100 times more powerful than fentanyl, a synthetic opioid-based drug, which is often times mixed with heroin to increase its potency.
Investigators are saying that carfentanil is by far, one of the most potent and dangerous opioids to date.
It is so powerful that zoo veterinarians have to wear a face shield and protective gear before administering carfentanil to the animal.
Executive Director of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians, Dr. Rob Hilsenroth said “even one drop splattered into a person’s eye or nose could be fatal.”
Authorities are saying that the animal sedative is now being mixed or passed off as heroin, and may be the cause to an exceedingly large number of heroin overdoses.
From the beginning of 2016 up until June, Akron has had a reported 320 overdoses. In July alone, they have encountered 236 drug overdoses, 20 of which were fatal.
36-year-old Rayshon Alexander, suspected of selling carfentanil, has been charged on 20 counts in central Ohio this past week.
The charges, including murder, are in connection with one fatal overdose and 9 others. Each overdose was reportedly within hours of each other.
There is no word yet on exactly how the sedative got in the hands of local drug dealers.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine knows of no thefts of the drug locally, however, carfentanil is sold on the internet by Chinese companies. According to the DEA, carfentanil has not shown up much in the U.S. drug supply.
Furthermore, reports are telling us that naloxone, or more commonly known as Narcan, is not doing the trick for all cases. First responders in Ohio have had to administer multiple doses of naloxone, and it still sometimes wasn’t enough.
Carfentanil may just be too powerful for the overdose reversal drug.
Hamilton County coroner, Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco remarked, “Narcan may not save you on this one.”
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