Arizona has recorded its first death involving Carfentanil overdose, a synthetic opioid that’s 5,000 times more potent than heroin, and 100 times more powerful than fentanyl. The DEA announced the death on Monday, and said it occurred in 2017 and involved a 21-year-old male who was found dead in a car outside a Phoenix restaurant.
While the report did not divulge any further information about the man’s identity, it did say the Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s report confirmed the presence of carfentail, Fox 10 Phoenix reported. The DEA said the source of the drug remains unknown.
“Carfentanil is an extremely an extremely dangerous drug and its presence in Arizona should be incredibly alarming for all of us, including the DEA and our law enforcement partners who continue to combat the opioid epidemic in this state,” Special Ageny Doug Coleman said, in a released statement.
Carfentanil is typically used to tranquilize elephants, and is deadly to humans at just 0.02 milligrams. A DEA official previously told Fox News that the drug is so powerful, that it poses a danger simply by coming into contact with a person’s skin.
Originally posted on Fox News.
A few facts about Carfentanil
Carfentanil is a powerful derivative of fentanyl, a synthetic narcotic analgesic produced from morphine. While fentanyl is about 100 times more powerful than morphine, carfentanil is 100 times more potent than fentanyl, meaning it is 10,000 times more potent than morphine. This drug is not approved for use in humans in any capacity, and it is typically found in veterinary medicine to sedate large animals, primarily elephants. In fact, the drug is so powerful that when veterinarians handle carfentanil, they use protective gear so they don’t breathe it in or absorb it through their skin.
Unlike other morphine derivatives, heroin, or other opioid narcotics, carfentanil does not lead to addiction. It is too powerful for humans who have not developed a tolerance to strong narcotics like heroin or fentanyl. Even for people who have struggled with addiction to powerful narcotics, a dose the size of a grain of salt can rapidly lead to an overdose and death.
However, carfentanil has been found cutting heroin and even fentanyl sold on the streets, starting in July 2016 in Ohio, when 35 overdoses and six deaths occurred in a span of three days. Law enforcement and emergency medical personnel warn that carfentanil sold illicitly looks like other drugs found on the street, including cocaine and heroin, because it is an odorless, white powder. Carfentanil, like fentanyl, has been found cutting heroin in order to increase its potency and the heroin dealer’s supply of the substance.