NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - “It’s a synthetic opioid very similar in its analog composure to fentanyl, but it’s a lot stronger,” said DEA Associate Special Agent-in-Charge Brad Byerley.
Byerley said the synthetic opioid is 10,000 times stronger than morphine and 5,000 times stronger than heroin. It’s been linked to overdose deaths in cities and towns across the U.S.
“In talking to our lab, 14 exhibits that were seized last year contained carfentanil. Of those 14 exhibits, some were in powder form and some in tablet form. The ones in tablet form each contained a lethal dose of carfentanil,” Byerley said.
Byerley said there are no cases locally, but he worries the deadly drug will eventually show up here. Carfentanil is so potent it can be absorbed through the skin. Often times, it’s sold on the street disguised as heroin.
“It’s not uncommon for us to take down a group and seize a pill press. They’re pressing out heroin, lacing it with fentanyl, and in some cases, the carfentanil, and selling it on the street,” Byerley said.
Byerley said a very small amount can be fatal, and it’s unclear if the opioid antidote, Naloxone, will even be effective.
“The potency of the carfentanil, they’re afraid that Naloxone or the Narcan might not work. Just because it’s so lethal, the fentanyl scares me to death, but the carfentanil takes it to another level,” Byerley said.
The federal agency said carfentanil is coming to the U.S. mainly from China and ordered over the internet.