Elephant tranquilizer found in blood stream of Jefferson County heroin death victims

Published: Aug. 29, 2016 at 9:27 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 29, 2016 at 10:04 PM CDT
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JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - For the last several years, the heroin epidemic has been hitting America hard.

Health officials say a synthetic Opiod that is 150 times more potent than heroin is now hitting the streets.

The drug is called Carfentanil. It's a very strong painkiller that veterinarians have used for years as tranquilizers for larger animals, like elephants.

There have been drug related deaths in several states linked to this drug.

Last month, the Jefferson County coroner says there were two heroin deaths in which Carfentanil was also detected in the victims' bloodstreams.

Dr. Mark Wilson with the Jefferson County Health Department says he doesn't know where the drug is coming from.

"It's very alarming. Heroin was bad enough. Fenatanyl was even worse. This is 100 times worse than Fentanyl. So we want the public to know this is out there. People that are injecting things in their veins could potentially get this and get killed very quickly," Wilson said.

Wilson says the toxicity of Carfentanil is so high that even police officers who work narcotics scenes are being told to wear gloves. This precaution is so that they don't get a trace of it on their hands and wind up with an accidental overdose.

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