DEA says more dope dealers lacing drugs with fentanyl - WDRB 41 Louisville News

DEA says more dope dealers lacing drugs with fentanyl

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LOUISVILLE, Ky, (WDRB) -- It's a drug so dangerous it's even putting law enforcement at risk. 

Fentanyl is often mixed with heroin, and users may have no idea.

"Fentanyl is horrible," said Tom Gorman, Assistant Special Agent in charge of the Louisville DEA. "It's a real risk. It's Russian roulette is what they're playing, and it's tragic."

Hidden inside a tire in blocks, 5.5 kilos were recently confiscated at the southwest U.S. border. In California, the DEA busted open the box and found 12 kilos of fentanyl. In Arizona, more than 4 kilos were found. While fentanyl is prescribed by doctors legitimately as a pain killer, the synthetic drug is flooding local streets.

The Louisville DEA office had two fentanyl seizures in the last three months, both of which involved several ounces and local dealers. The DEA says the drug is sometimes found in small packages next to larger amounts of heroin ready to be cut. 

Stephanie Stout, a recovering addict, is 24 years old and knows first-hand the dangers of fentanyl. 

"I ended up finding heroin when I was around 22, 23," she said. "I ended up getting a hold of some of the fentanyl dope that is out there.

"I ended up shooting up some of the heroin that was mixed with fentanyl ... until I mixed it with water and it turned yellow instead of brown, and that's how I knew it was something completely different." 

Fentanyl is leading to more overdose deaths in Kentucky. The DEA says it's up to 50 times more potent than heroin. Carfentanil, an elephant tranquilizer, is also being mixed with heroin. It is 100 times more potent than fentanyl and 10,000 times more potent than morphine.

"We are seeing it more in the state. I haven't yet seen it in Louisville yet," Gorman said. "I believe it's coming."

The drug is also a danger to law enforcement and K-9 units. It can be absorbed through the skin or accidentally inhaled as airborne powder. A diagram shows how just 2 milligrams of fentanyl can cause death in people -- an amount so small, it looks like salt. Stout is now 10 months sober and serves as a peer mentor at The Healing Place.

She says this is her message to fentanyl abusers is to get help. 

"This is the place right here, I'm telling you, The Healing Place gave me back my family, and it's given me a brand new life."

For information on The Healing Place, click here.

Related Stories:

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

Rise in fentanyl leading to more fatal overdoses in Kentucky

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