BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts State Police are warning that an “extremely dangerous” opioid has been found in the state.
Lab tests show three drug samples, two from Brockton and one from Quincy, tested positive for carfentanil.
This is the first time the opioid has been seen in Massachusetts and authorities want to warn the public and first responders about its “extreme lethality.”
State Police say carfentanil can be mixed with drugs like cocaine or disguised as heroin. It is about 100 times more powerful than fentanyl, and only 2 milligrams of the substance can kill someone. That is less than the size of a penny.
“Carfentanil is so powerful that it has been used to sedate elephants weighing many thousands of pounds,” police said. “It has no legitimate medical uses for humans.”
Only specially trained officers should handle any suspected carfentanil. It can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled, posing a danger to the public, first responders and lab workers.
Beverly Police Chief John LeLacheur says the presence of carfentanil is new and treacherous territory for first responders.
“There was a time when we used to do roadside test kits. Wanted to see if it was cocaine. Wanted to see if it was heroin. It’s just too dangerous now,” LeLacheur said.
So far, there have been no known overdoses in Massachusetts due to carfentanil, though several have recently been reported in New Hampshire. The majority of carfentanil found in the United States is made in Mexico or China.