Carfentanil is an analogue of the popular synthetic opioid analgesic fentanyl, and is a Schedule II drug. It is most often used as a general anesthetic agent for large animals, such as elephants and bears.
Due to its extreme potency, Carfentanil is intended for large animal use only and is inappropriate for use in humans. It is one of the most potent opioids known and is the most potent opioid used commercially. It is 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl.
Effects in humans can be felt with a dose the side of one microgram. Drug dealers are mixing this drug with weaker heroin and passing it off as heroin. It has been connected to hundreds of overdoses in Ohio.
Carfentanil can be easily inhaled or absorbed through the skin and protective barriers like surgical gloves, masks and gowns should be used when handling Carfentanil. Recently, people are finding themselves exposed to this drug unknowingly since it can be easily inhaled or absorbed by touching it.
Carfentanil is available in a white powder form and sometime people touch objects that were in contact with Carfentanil, like needles or straws. A few weeks ago a neighboring police agency had an officer hospitalized due to contact with Carfentanil. This incident was brought on by removing an object from a suspect’s pocket. Last week 11 Hartford, Connecticut officers were sent to the hospital from contact with fentanyl.
Heroin has touched many of our citizens in some way, shape or form. If you have a loved one involved in heroin, citizens should be cautious before handling suspected paraphernalia-related items to prevent accidental overdoses.
Duane Weyand is Chief of Police of Wilmington.