DEA issues carfentanil warning

DEA warned Thursday about the health and safety risks of carfentanil, a synthetic opioid that is 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl. "Carfentanil is surfacing in more and more communities," said DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg. "We see it on the streets, often disguised as heroin.

DEA warned Thursday about the health and safety risks of carfentanil, a synthetic opioid that is 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl. "Carfentanil is surfacing in more and more communities," said DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg. "We see it on the streets, often disguised as heroin. It is crazy dangerous. Synthetics such as fentanyl and carfentanil can kill you." The drug, a Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substances Act, is used as a tranquilizing agent for elephants and other large mammals. DEA noted that carfentanil and other fentanyl-related compounds pose a serious risk to public safety, first responder, medical, treatment, and laboratory personnel. The substances can come in a number of forms—including powder, blotter paper, and tablets—and can be absorbed through the skin or accidental inhalation of airborne powder. If encountered, responding personnel should follow a number of steps: exercise extreme caution, be aware of any sign of exposure, seek immediate medical attention, be ready to administer naloxone in the event of exposure, and remember that carfentanil can resemble powdered cocaine or heroin.