Area Authorities Concerned About Potent Synthetic Opioid

carfBROOKVILLE, Pa. (EYT) – Although Heroin and Methamphetamine have been the scourge of area residents and law enforcement agencies over the last several years across the region, there is another other opiate-based drug out there that will make them look mild.

Carfentanil, a synthetic opioid, is 10,000 times more potent than morphine, making it among the most potent commercially used opioids.

Its primary use is as a tranquilizer for large animals, such as elephants.

It started showing up in Ohio where drug dealers were adding it to Heroin to maximize profits. That caused a spike in overdose cases.

Fortunately, it has yet to show up in Jefferson County.

“Not yet, but it will,” Brookville Chief of Police Jason Brown said when asked if it had shown up in the county.

“The chemicals in it are unreal. It’s meant for use on elephants (as an anaesthesia) but people are taking it, and dealers are just mixing it willy nilly with Heroin.”

“It certainly poses problems for us if we have to deal with people that have overdosed on it,” Brown said. “It is so potent, you can OD if you come in contact with it or accidentally inhale it.”

“But, we’ll be ready for it. There are new protocols for dealing with OD cases as far as wearing gloves and masks,” Brown said.

The symptoms of Carfentanil use are consistent with opioid toxicity and include pinpoint pupils, shallow or no breathing, drowsiness, disorientation, dizziness, sedation or loss of consciousness, nausea and vomiting, a weak or no pulse, and cold, clammy skin.

Pa. Department of Health Secretary Dr. Karen Murphy urged professionals and citizens who may be in contact with Carfentanil to use extreme caution because the drug is absorbed through the skin.

“Because Carfentanil is a synthetic opioid that is much more potent and deadly than Morphine and Fentanyl, it could lead to increases in cluster overdoses and deaths,” Murphy said.

“It poses significant threats to those who may be using opioids as well as others who may come into contact with it.”

Carfentanil is absorbed through skin contact, inhalation, oral exposure, or ingestion, which may lead to an accidental drug poisoning.

It can come in several forms, including powder; blotter paper; tablets; patch; and spray. Carfentanil also is known to be mixed with heroin or used as a heroin substitute.

Just a few weeks ago, the first two overdose deaths due to carfentanil happened in Beaver County.

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