Elephant Sedatives Are Latest Strange Twist in America’s Heroin Epidemic

Some deaths in a rash of recent drug overdoses in the United States are now being attributed to an elephant sedative being sold to heroin users.

According to CBS News, authorities found evidence this month of ultra-potent opioid Carfentanil being sold as heroin or mixed with the drug. A man was indicted this week connected to one death and nine overdoses in central Ohio after some victims were found with Carfentanil in their syringes. Users who survived the overdoses said they believed they had purchased heroin.

“It certainly is a very disturbing trend,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said.

The bad batch of drugs comes amidst a major heroin epidemic in the area, where there were more than 230 overdoses in July alone. Heroin is often cut with other drugs, and Akron Police Chief Jim Nice said that is the biggest reason for the huge number of recent overdoses.

“What we are looking into is a bad lot of dope,” he said, according to CBS News. “Most of the deaths from heroin overdoses are coming from too much fentanyl being cut into that.”

Officials say Carfentanil is 100 times more potent than fentanyl and supposedly similar in strength to synthetic opioid W-18, which has been found in several states and in Canada. The elephant sedative is so strong that zoo veterinarians wear a hazmat-like protective suit when administering the drug for its intended use, as spilling it on themselves could prove fatal.

Investigators say it still is not clear where the drug supply is coming from. It can be purchased online from China but they have not yet found evidence to show that is the case in this situation. The drug is so rarely found in the area that the state’s crime lab did not even have a protocol for comparing samples to it.

Carfentanil is resistant to overdose reversal drug Narcan, making it particularly dangerous. Emergency responders said they had to administer multiple doses of the antidote to save victims.

source: complex.com BY

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