Dina Bair, WGNTV.com, December 9, 2016

There is a new opioid, a fentanyl synthetic called carfentanil that is 10,000 times more potent than morphine. A 35-year- old Lake Zurich man became one of its first victims.

Drug dealers are manufacturing their own version of a painkiller used by veterinarians to immobilize elephants. In people, it leads to instant death.

“It’s really like a ticking time bomb because it’s so potent. If someone thinks they are getting something else, like just straight street heroin for example, its being so much more potent, they’re likely to stop breathing and die,” Dr. Steven Aks, Stronger Hospital, Emergency Medicine and Toxicology.

In an effort to save lives naloxone has been made available by prescription. If administered immediately after an overdose of heroin, for example, it can completely reverse an overdose. But carfentanil may be too strong for naloxone.

“The problem with carfentanil is because it is so potent, we are not sure how effective it is going to be,” Aks said.

The opioid epidemic has been on the rise in Cook County. The statistics are alarming – in 2014, there were 20 fentanyl-related deaths. In 2015, the number soared to 102. So far in 2016, 380 people died after taking fentanyl or a fentanyl analog like carfentanil.

Source: http://wgntv.com/2016/12/09/elephant-tranquilizer- carfentanil-causes- first-death-in- chicago-area/

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