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Carfentanil-induced overdose deaths in Minnesota

Lately, the United States has witnessed a sharp spike in deaths due to drug overdoses. With drug deaths continuing to rise rapidly across most of the American states, experts are now blaming excessive consumption of heroin and fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, for such a high mortality rate.

But, the five overdose deaths that took place recently in Minnesota could be attributed to an even more lethal drug called carfentanil, which is a synthetic opioid frequently used as an elephant tranquilizer. The drug is also, possibly, responsible for five other overdose cases whose confirmation is still pending as of now, as per Minnesota authorities.

Carfentanil overdose: A major public health crisis

The victims, aged between 23 and 43 years, reportedly lost their lives due to an overdose of carfentanil between Jan. 30, 2017 and Feb. 17, 2017, in Minneapolis, Apple Valley and Faribault areas. With carfentanil has often been disguised as heroin, it is very likely that the victims mistakenly bought heroin laced with carfentanil and succumbed to its lethal effects. Sadly, the drug is often consumed unknowingly by the users, who do not realize it until too late. In fact, the drug is so strong that its potency cannot be reduced even after diluting it sufficiently.

Cited as the first known carfentanil overdose case in Minnesota, the deaths were declared as a public health crisis by the authorities, who took no time to inform the law enforcement agencies, poison control centers, as well as hospitals about the mishap. The officials have warned people to keep away from the drug at all costs, since even its smallest dosage can be highly dangerous, especially for first-time users.

Andrew Baker, the chief medical examiner for Hennepin, Dakota and Scott counties, said that although the recent carfentanil cases were clear overdose deaths, the routine toxicology testing could not identify any cause of death. However, when further testing was done by a specialized reference laboratory, carfentanil was successfully detected as the cause of death.

The drug is said to be manufactured in China and trafficked by the Mexican drug cartels to be distributed on the streets, or, at times, bought online, as per Ken Solek, assistant special agent in charge of the DEA’s twin cities office.

Carfentanil is nearly 10,000 times more potent than morphine, and 100 times more potent than fentanyl

Carfentanil is a new drug known to be an analog of the synthetic drug fentanyl. It is considered one of the most potent opioids known so far in medical history.

Its potential harmful effects can be assessed by its strength, which is10, 000 times more than morphine, and 100 times more than fentanyl. Legally approved to be used on large animals, such as elephants, as an anesthetic prior to a surgery, the drug can be fatal when consumed in large quantities.

Recovery roadmap

Drug addiction has always been a curse for the individual addicted, his or her family, as well as the society as a whole. Just like any other illness, addiction too can be treated properly with the right tools and support. Instead of discrimination against the person suffering from addiction, one needs to talk to the person, act as a source of support and help him or her seek professional treatment for the problem.

If you or someone you know is addicted to some form of drugs, get in touch with the 24/7 Recovery Helpline to know about some of the best substance abuse treatment centers. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-441-4405, or chat online with one of our representatives who would be happy to assist you with details about the best drug addiction rehab centers in your vicinity.


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