Heroin Cut With Elephant Sedative Leads to Overdoses in Ohio

By Seth Ferranti 07/19/16

Carfentanil, a powerful derivative of fentanyl used to treat large animals, has been discovered in the syringes of OD victims in Akron, Ohio.

Heroin Cut With Elephant Sedative Leads to Overdoses in Ohio

As heroin use in our country surges, Ohio has been dealing with a severe crisis highlighted by an increase in overdoses and the reality of addiction. But instead of things getting better, it seems they are only getting worse. According to CBS News, reports out of Akron claim that users are mixing powerful elephant sedatives with heroin to increase their buzz—supercharging their heroin for a more powerful high.

Carfentanil, a powerful derivative of fentanyl, has been discovered in the syringes of OD victims. Carfentanil is a potent opioid that’s 10,000 times as strong as morphine and about 100 times as strong as fentanyl. It’s marketed as a general anesthetic for large animals and isn’t intended for human consumption or use. In just a 10-day period (July 5-14), there’s been 91 overdoses and 8 deaths in Akron, according to authorities.

"What we are looking into is a bad lot of dope,” Akron Police Chief Jim Nice told the Associated Press. "Most of the deaths from heroin overdoses are coming from too much fentanyl being cut into that.” Fentanyl and its derivatives are killing thousands of addicts a year. The drug is so powerful that even a quarter-milligram can be fatal, and the large animal version is 100 times as strong, proving to be a deadly concoction.

“The only thing killing you is respiratory depression,” Dr. Lewis Nelson, a medical toxicologist and emergency physician at NYU’s School of Medicine, told Forbes. “If I took a few times the therapeutic dose of an opioid, my breathing would slow, and I might die in several hours—it’s a slow spiral toward death.” The drug that killed Prince is super lethal in elephant-size doses. Instead of getting high, users OD and slowly suffocate to death.

Akron Deputy Fire Chief Charles Twigg noted that carfentanil didn’t react to Narcan, the naloxone-based spray that first responders have been using to successfully reverse overdoses. "Reports from the field indicate that this particular drug was less responsive to Narcan,” he told the Associated Press. With an estimated 1 million heroin users in the United States steadily looking for a way to increase their high, more overdoses involving carfentanil can be expected. And with Akron's dismal record of overdoses this year, something needs to be done to counteract the more powerful form of fentanyl users are getting their hands on.

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After landing on the US Marshals Top-15 Most Wanted list and being sentenced to a 25 year sentence in federal prison for a first-time, nonviolent LSD offense, Seth built a writing and journalism career from his cell block. His raw portrayals of prison life and crack era gangsters graced the pages of Don DivaHoopshype and VICE. From prison he established Gorilla Convict, a true-crime publisher and website that documents the stories that the mainstream media can’t get with books like Prison Stories and Street Legends. His story has been covered by The Washington PostThe Washington Times, and Rolling Stone.

Since his release in 2015 he’s worked hard to launch GR1ND Studios, where true crime and comics clash. GR1ND Studios is bringing variety to the comic shelf by way of the American underground. These groundbreaking graphic novels tell the true story of prohibition-era mobsters, inner-city drug lords, and suburban drug dealers. Seth is currently working out of St. Louis, Missouri, writing for The FixVICEOZY, Daily Beast, and Penthouse and moving into the world of film. Check out his first short, Easter Bunny Assassin at sethferranti.com. You can find Seth on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.