PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The district attorney of Luzerne County has issued an alert warning of a new drug causing an overwhelming number of overdoses near western Pennyslvania.
According to the Times Leader, the drug — carfentanil — is a synthetic opioid that has clinical potency 10,000 times higher than morphine or pure heroin, and 100 times higher than fentanyl. The warning reportedly sourced information from the state Department of Health.
The new and dangerous drug is used to sedate bears, elephants and other large animals. Carfentanil has apparently been mixed into heroin in Ohio and other states by dealers looking to make their product more powerful.
“As a result, carfentanil could pose a grave danger to law enforcement and other first responders encountering the drug in an emergency medical situation,” the alert reportedly said.
District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis, who issued the warning along with the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association and state health department, said 20 of the approximately 200 overdoses near Western Pennsylvania were fatal.