Support the news

Powerful Synthetic Opioid Found In A Dozen Samples In Mass. This Year

Posters comparing lethal amounts of heroin, fentanyl, and carfentanil, are on display during a news conference in Arlington, Virginia, in June. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)MoreCloseclosemore
Posters comparing lethal amounts of heroin, fentanyl, and carfentanil, are on display during a news conference in Arlington, Virginia, in June. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Law enforcement officials say they are finding more powerful synthetic opioids in Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts State Police lab confirms the opioid carfentanil was found in 12 drug samples this year. It's an elephant tranquilizer more potent than fentanyl. Fentanyl, which is usually mixed with other illicit drugs or made into fake prescription pills, was found in 2,300 samples.

"If anything can be likened to a weapon of mass destruction and what it does to a community it's fentanyl," said Drug Enforcement Agency Special Agent Michael Ferguson.

Investigators now have protective gear — suits, masks and gloves — because of the risks associated with exposure to the powerful opioid.

So far this year, state police responded to 634 suspected opioid overdose deaths — about the same number as this time last year.

With reporting by WBUR's Deborah Becker

Related:

+Join the discussion
Share
TwitterfacebookEmail

More from CommonHealth

Support the news