Drug used as elephant tranquilizer becoming increasingly popular

Drug used as elephant tranquilizer, Carfentanil, becoming increasingly popular. (Photo KATV Archive)

Local police are warning about a deadly drug becoming increasingly popular across the nation. Carfentanil is normally used as an elephant tranquilizer, but now police say people are using it to get high.

Benton Police Department Lt. Terry Fuller has a background in narcotics, but he said this drug has law enforcement concerned about their own safety.

"Just a small amount can be deadly," Fuller said.

Carfentanil is a synthetic opiate that is 100 times more potent than Fetanyl, a drug used to relieve pain for cancer patients.

"It's really strong, [and] can be about 10,000 times more powerful than hydrocodone," Fuller said.

Fuller told KATV it's a drug so strong that an officer simply breathing some in from the car of a drug user can actually affect the officer.

"I think officers in some of the northern states have had exposures that have had to be treated with Naloxone to try to reverse the effects," Fuller said.

Naloxone is a counter agent to opiates and sprayed into someone's nose to revive someone from an overdose.

Police said young adults and middle aged adults are getting their hands on this drug most likely through the black market from the Mexican drug cartel. Fuller said many are also mixing it with other drugs, like heroin, meth, and marijuana.

He also told us people on this drug will appear "out of it" and have trouble holding their heads up.

"With the opiates, it seems like they're going stronger and stronger to try to reach the same high they had in the past," Fuller said.

Benton PD say Carfentanil hasn't made its way to Arkansas as far as they know, but they're prepared for when it does.

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