One of the deadliest analogs of fentanyl, carfentanil is wreaking havoc across the United States. Five more people succumbed to carfentanil overdose recently in Hennepin County. The opioid analog is so powerful that it is mostly used to tranquilize elephants and can be fatal for humans.
Carfentanil is 10,000 times more powerful than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl. It is actually meant for tranquilizing elephants and other larger animals. Hennepin County Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker is blaming the drug for the recent deaths in the area.
The victims include a 26-year-old woman and a 29-year-old man from Minneapolis, a 23-year-old man from Maple Grove, a 32-year-old man from Eden Prairie and a 43-year-old man from Plymouth. With these five deaths, the toll in Hennepin County due to carfentanil has gone up to 10.
Moreover, it is not easy to detect carfentanil because mere routine drug and alcohol screenings are not enough to spot the powerful opioid. Samples need to be tested in specialized labs for the correct results, which also delays the process for responding.
According to Dr. Baker, “We remain vigilant and continue to order the carfentanil and designer opioid testing on a case-by-case basis after considering the autopsy findings, investigation and laboratory results.”
There are many instances when first-time responders felt the heat due to carfentanil. The drug is dangerous for law enforcement officers and first-time responders. The problem with the substance is that it is available in many forms, including powder, tablets, blotter paper, patches and sprays. Chances are that some forms can accidentally get inside the body through skin absorption or inhalation. Often sold as heroin in the street, users barely have any idea of the danger they are flirting with.
Experts observe that naloxone, which is given as an antidote for an overdose of opioids like fentanyl, is likely to be less effective in case of carfentanil. Higher doses of naloxone may be required to revive overdose patients. Another problem the first time responders may encounter is violent behavior from the user, after giving naloxone to reverse respiratory depression, as it may induce withdrawal in the user. The opioid analog is so powerful that even police working dogs run the risk of drug exposure.
Carfentanil poses a serious threat to those users who are ignorant about the fact that they are using a deadly substance because they buy it as heroin from the street. Unscrupulous drug dealers sell carfentanil as heroin without informing customers and this puts their lives at risk. These random deaths could have been a fallout of such dubious practices, one may not know.
It is not easy dealing with any substance abuse, especially when it is an emergency arising out of a deadly drug like carfentanil. However, every addiction is equally perilous, throwing lives of abusers into disarray. Chronic and severe addictions are always fatal. Hence, one should always seek immediate treatment. One should not shy away from the treatment due to associated stigma or discrimination because any delay can worsen the situation. A timely treatment can definitely save a life and absolve one from undergoing harsh withdrawals during treatment.
If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance abuse, reach out for help today and avoid any potential mishap. Contact the 24/7 Recovery Helpline for information regarding drug and alcohol abuse treatment centers in your vicinity. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-441-4405 or chat online for further information.