Doctors at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) found carfentanil on one of their patients last week. This is one of the first times that the highly potent drug has been found in Arkansas.
The Poison Control Center at UAMS receives about 100 calls from health care providers and members of the public every day, and on Thursday, June 15 the call came in to the Emergency Room about the presence drug that is reportedly 10,000 times more potent than morphine.
“The problem with some of these agents is there’s very little we do know when it comes to actual human exposure because up until now we haven’t had many of these,” said Dr. Keith McCain, who works at the Poison Control Center.
Despite the fact that this may be the first reported case of carfentanil in the state, medical professionals and law enforcement remains on high alert due to its potency. The drug is intended for use as an elephant tranquilizer.
While officers have yet to come across the drug on the street, they are still studying up on its effects because it can be ingested simply by inhalation, and need to keep the safety of both their human officers and K-9 units in mind.
It comes in many forms, ranging from liquid to a powder to what Dr. McCain called a “gravely cement”, and has even been found mixed in with other drugs like heroin in other states.
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