U of L toxicologist says heroin concoction becoming 100 times mo - WDRB 41 Louisville News

U of L toxicologist says heroin concoction becoming 100 times more dangerous

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Michael Purvis was arrested Wednesday in relation to several of the southern Indiana overdoses. Michael Purvis was arrested Wednesday in relation to several of the southern Indiana overdoses.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – It's a drug so dangerous it can knock out a 6,000-pound animal. And police are blaming it for 14 overdoses in southern Indiana.

The drug is carfentanyl, a form of the narcotic, fentanyl, which is typically used in hospital settings to treat pain. When it's combined with heroin, the side effects can be 100 times more severe.

“Fentanyl is a very potent narcotic,” said Dr. George Rodgers, a toxicologist with U of L and the Poison Control Center.

Authorities in southern Indiana are blaming carfentanyl for killing one person overnight and causing 14 people to overdose in Seymour and Jennings County, Ind.

“Last night's the worst I've ever seen,” said Seymour Police Chief Bill Abbott.

Several arrests have already been made, but authorities believe the heroin laced with carfentanyl came out of Cincinnati. Last weekend, the Ohio city saw 30 overdoses and another 21 Tuesday night, the same night as the rash of overdoses in southern Indiana.

“A piece of the product the size of a grain of salt is fatal to a human. So literally one grain of salt, your life is in danger,” Chief Abbott said.

“Certainly the fentanyl, or the analogs of fentanyl, could be anywhere from 10 to 100 times as strong as heroin,” Dr. Rodgers said.

He said fentanyl is used in hospital settings for pain management in cancer patients and in the ICU.

As for carfentanyl, it’s used to sedate large animals.

“It’s a narcotic that's been used as a tranquilizer in large animals, and it’s a reflection of the fact that these are extraordinarily potent materials,” Dr. Rodgers said.

Dr. Rodgers added you never really know what you’re getting with street drugs, which adds to the risk.

In one of the Seymour cases, four doses of the life-saving drug narcan had to be administered to reverse the effects of the powerful overdose.

To help combat the more potent drug, last month the Kentucky Harm Reduction Coalition started distributing narcan that is twice as strong.

In a report released by the National Forensic Laboratory Information System, both Kentucky and Indiana were listed in the top 10 states for having 80 percent of the county's heroin laced fentanyl.

Related Stories:

Several arrested, one dead, after reports of over a dozen overdoses in southern Indiana

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