Wave of Overdoses with Little-Known Drug Raises Alarm Amid Opioid Crisis

October 14, 2016

(Scientific American) – Veterinarians know this opioid as a powerful elephant sedative. Security hawks know it too, thanks to its apparent use by the Russian government to put down a hostage crisis in 2002 (yes, really). But in the past year more U.S. doctors and paramedics are getting first-hand knowledge about the deadly effects of carfentanil from users who have overdosed on it. The drug is 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more powerful than fentanyl, the drug that pop star Prince overdosed on earlier this year. When carfentanil is used to cut other opioids such as heroin it can offer users a longer or more intense high—if they survive it.

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