WASHINGTON — The autopsy of a 51-year-old Pasadena, Maryland man has been linked to the synthetic opioid carfentanil, bringing the death toll to four in the state in recent weeks.
The deadly drug is as big as table salt grains and officials believe drug dealers are mixing it up to make the heroin they sell stronger.
Anne Arundel County’s chief of police, Timothy Altomare, said finding the dealers of this drug is priority number one.
Carfentanil’s potency is 100 times stronger than fentanyl and 10,000 times stronger than morphine.
The drug is used to sedate large animals like elephants and hippos, so the fact that it’s showing up in the streets concerns many, including Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who declared a state of emergency back in March.
Hogan’s declaration came months after the Drug Enforcement Agency issued a nationwide alert on carfentanil in September of 2016, saying it was linked to a number of overdose-related deaths.
Officials say the drug can be swallowed as a pill and can be absorbed through skin in its powder form.
In March, Hogan submitted a five-year, $50 million supplemental budget to Maryland lawmakers to combat the opioid crisis.