DEA alerts the world to new 'superdrug' made with Mexican fentanyl

Carfentanil is 100x stronger than Fentanyl and not meant for human consumption. It's a chemical cousin to Fentanyl to tranquilize Elephants. Its Carfentanil and Fentanyl Analogs, not Prescription Fentanyl.
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DEA alerts the world to new 'superdrug' made with Mexican fentanyl

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DEA alerts the world to new 'superdrug' made with Mexican fentanyl

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https://www.vice.com/es_latam/article/x ... l-mexicano
  • It is called carfentanil and is capable of killing an elephant with a very small dose. The government of the United States warned Thursday that it has been detected in several communities, disguised as normal doses of cocaine and heroin.

It is 10,000 times more lethal than morphine. And 100 times more powerful than fentanyl, the drug that ended Prince's life. His name is carfentanil and its detection in the streets of the United States caused that yesterday Thursday the government of Barack Obama issued a global alert.
  • Through a statement , the Drug Control Administration (DEA, for its acronym in English) recognized that there are already recorded cases of deaths from overdoses linked to this new superdrug derived from opioids, which even in minimal doses is capable of kill an elephant in minutes.

    Canada fights against carfentanil, a lethal drug used to anesthetize elephants. Read more here

    "Carfentanil is appearing in more and more communities," said DEA head Chuck Rosenberg. "We see him on the streets, often disguised as heroin, and it's incredibly dangerous." Synthetic drugs like fentanyl (carfentanil base) and carfentanil can kill you, I hope our first aid staff, and the general population, will read and be Attentive to our health and safety, these men and women (paramedics) do a remarkably difficult job and we have to be well and healthy.
"

Fentanyl, Rosenberg continued, is being sold in every corner of the United States and is clandestinely produced in Mexico, although it also comes directly from China.

Mexican media have reported that last fall, Federal Police agents seized 27 kilograms of fentanyl - the equivalent of almost a ton of heroin - in a narco-bomber for small planes in the state of Sinaloa, place of origin of capo Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán, now detained.

On the other hand, the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación - a new "player" on the map of the drug cartels in Mexico - has been singled out by the Mexican government as the criminal organization that is dominating the export of synthetic drugs.

According to information from the DEA, carfentanil and fentanyl are sold illegally in different presentations, from powders, bottled liquids, pills and aerosols. When it is consumed, intentionally or accidentally, the symptoms appear in the first minutes: lack of breathing, drowsiness, disorientation, dilated pupils and coldness in the skin.

"Carfentanil and other substances derived from fentanyl work very fast in the body, so in case of a possible intake, it is very important to call the emergency services immediately, if it has been inhaled, take the consumer to fresh air. Ingested and the consumer is conscious, wash your eyes and mouth with cold water, "recommends the anti-drug agency.

On how the Walter White of fentanyl appeared and disappeared from the dark web. Read more here

In any case, the carfentanil user - and those who are close to him or her - should be ready for the use of naloxone, an antidote to opioid overdose. Immediate use of this medication can reverse the intoxication, although several doses may be required.

At the end of the alert, the US government insisted that carfentanil can be mixed in doses of cocaine or heroin, so if a user suspects that he has bought that 'superdrug' he should not manipulate the substance, as it could lead to a accidental exposure that would end in his death.

So far, the DEA does not know what is the minimum dose of carfentanil that is needed to kill a human being, although he suspects that it is too low.

Follow VICE News in Spanish on Twitter: @VICENewsEs

October 19, 2016, 11:50 am
Carfentanil: the new and powerful synthetic drug that spreads throughout the United States
This substance with deadly potential, normally used in zoos to calm large animals such as elephants and rhinos, is part of an addiction crisis unprecedented in the country. China is the main producer.

The autopsy room in the police offices in Cincinnati, United States, has all the necessary equipment to analyze a body: a wide variety of scalpels, knives and even a pair of pruning shears. Determine the causes of death of a person is a scary but essential work to know the effects that drugs cause in people.

Surrounded by all that arsenal, Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco recalls that last August there were 174 cases of overdose in a period of six days. At least three cases proved fatal, and Sammarco was puzzled and alarmed when the autopsy revealed that the substance responsible was something other than heroin.

"There were many doubts about that," he said. "We all asked ourselves: 'Now what, what are we going to do? We have to know what substance it is.'

Eventually, Sammarco linked at least 21 deaths in the area to carfentanil, a synthetic opioid used in zoos to calm elephants, rhinos and other large animals. As a human doctor, Sammarco had never heard of carfentanil, but he was already familiar with fentanyl, the ultra-powerful opioid responsible for 238 fatal overdoses in the city of Cincinnati in 2015. Carfentanil is approximately 100 times stronger than fentanyl , which is 50 times more powerful than heroin.

"I looked at everyone on the team and said: 'Is that serious?'" Said the doctor. "As if fentanyl was not bad enough, now they have to go out looking for something that is 100 times more powerful? Why would someone want to put poison in their body?"

Fentanyl is so dangerous that some policemen carry antidotes with them in case they touch it. Read more here

Carfentanil is part of an addiction crisis unprecedented in the country. While more and more Americans have opted to use heroin, drug dealers have opted for synthetic opioids to meet the huge demand.

Federal authorities are still trying to find out exactly how and why the state of Ohio became the epicenter of carfentanil. In September, a couple from Cincinnati was arrested and charged with selling the opioid, and on October 15 a federal jury convicted two men in the state of Kentucky for allegedly being linked to at least seven fatal cases of carfentanil overdose .

However, Tim Regan, resident agent in charge of the DEA office in Cincinnati, told VICE News that there is still no further explanation beyond the local level.

"It's something so new to us that for now we just have to keep waiting for information, at least in Cincinnati," said Regan. "We know street vendors and we're trying to work from there, the carfentanil thing took us all by surprise."

The rate of fatal overdoses in the United States related to synthetic opioids has almost doubled between 2013 and 2014 - the most current information available - meaning that the number of deaths was 3,105 to 5,544. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that heroin mixed with fentanyl was responsible for the increase. Researchers at the center have said that the information not yet published in 2015 shows that this growth is even greater.

DEA researchers have been monitoring the rise of carfentanil and other potential synthetic opioids while increasing its presence in the United States. In an office a few miles west of Washington DC, Jill Head, the facilities' chemistry supervisor, showed VICE News a series of bottles filled with different variants of fentanyl confiscated during the investigations. Pure fentanyl and carfentanyl are a white powder, but the samples that Head has include a purple substance and green plant material sprayed with synthetic marijuana and opioids.

On how the Walter White of fentanyl appeared and disappeared from the dark web. Read more here

Head said that since carfentanil appeared in Cincinnati, cases have also been reported in Florida, Michigan, Rhode Island, Illinois and Kentucky, as well as unconfirmed cases in Georgia, New York, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. "It's something that goes beyond Ohio," Head said. "We're seeing it in several communities in the United States."

He also explained that although fentanyl is still the most common illicit synthetic opioid in the United States. In the US, other darker versions have appeared - acetyl fentanyl, valeryl fentanyl and furanyl fentanyl. Many of the fentanyl variants are already regulated in the United States but there are still some that are illegal.

'People are looking to get as high as possible.'

Most synthetic opioids are manufactured in China. Encouraged by the pressure to stop the drug trade, the Chinese government recently added 116 synthetic drugs to the list of controlled substances, but carfentanil remains unregulated and it is relatively easy to buy it online. One kilo - enough to cause about 50 million fatal overdoses - can be obtained for $ 2,750.

Some of the available drugs that come from Chinese laboratories are so unknown that they do not even have a name, only a series of letters and numbers that identify them. In September, the DEA placed an alert about the synthetic opioid known as U47700 after being linked to at least 15 fatal overdoses, 10 of which occurred in North Carolina. The agency reported that the drug was being sold on the Internet in packages with a label that read "Not suitable for human consumption" or "Exclusively for scientific purposes."

The illegal traffic of Chinese fentalino towards Canada is unstoppable. Read more here

The same happened when the agency faced the "bath salts", street name for the stimulants made from chemical processes, as well as the K2 or Spicey , names for synthetic marijuana. In both cases, the manufacturers, mostly Chinese, have altered the chemical formulas of the drugs in an effort to avoid US laws.

"The same thing is happening with opioids," Head said, emphasizing that the risks are much higher with substances such as fentanyl. "Any change in the molecule can make it ineffective or terribly potent."

To put his power in perspective, Head took a sugar substitute envelope. He emptied a little of the packing on a laboratory table, separating some grains with a knife, about two milligrams. That same amount of carfentanil, he explained, would be enough to kill 100 people. When the DEA investigators manipulate the substance, they have to wear protective equipment, in addition to being accompanied by someone trained to administer the naloxone antidote in case something goes wrong.

"What's on the streets is almost never carfentanyl or pure fentanyl," said Head. "It only contains little of the substance mixed with something else."

The problem, as one DEA expert has explained, is that sellers have no way to make sure that carfentanil is hardly mixed with heroin or other drugs. Random mixes can create "hot spots", concentrated doses that cause instant death. In Cincinnati, Sammarco said his laboratory has found carfentanil and other synthetic opioids in a variety of "white, some pink, or orange powders."

A crisis of deaths from opioid overdoses ignites alarms in Canada. Read more here

To get an idea of ​​how the illegal opioid trade works in Cincinnati, VICE News accompanied specialist Jerry Turner on a police tour in one of the neighborhoods where cases of overdose have occurred. "In almost every building on this street someone sells heroin," said Turner. "Everybody knows, but there's not much we can do about it, we could stop five people, and each one will say they bought it in a different place, that's only in a neighborhood."

Turner said that very few drug dealers really know what their products contain. He also explained the supply chain: wholesalers sell the product to intermediaries, whom diluted with all sorts of chemicals to make more profits when selling to small dealers. "I heard a guy say he used Nesquik powder," Turner said, adding that vendors are everywhere and almost always carry a few grams of drugs, such a small amount that does not generate charges.

The current theory in Cincinnati, according to Regan, is that the Mexican drug cartels are buying carfentanil from China or manufacturing it themselves with chemical precursors to ship it later with the heroin shipments. The synthetic opioid has also been found in Canada, where police confiscated a kilogram in Calgary in early August, then arresting the 24-year-old man who allegedly ordered the shipment.

'Nobody has an answer'.

Sammarco has the theory that Cincinnati was used as a test market for carfentanil. Detroit recently confirmed 19 deaths from an overdose related to elephant tranquilizers, also reporting that "in all cases where it was present, it had been mixed with other opioids, including heroin or others." Many laboratories are not equipped to run tests and look for carfentanil, so it is difficult to know how much the drug has spread.

As a doctor, Sammarco's main concern is the effects that carfentanil and other synthetic opioids can have on man. At this time, he said, consumers are practically guinea pigs.

"People are looking to get as high as possible," said Sammarco. "We have no idea how this substance actually acts in the human body, how it is metabolized, or its subsequent effects.We can rely on animals, but how accurate would the result be when it comes to humans?"

"We have no answer," he added desperately. "Nobody has an answer."

Follow VICE News in Spanish on Twitter: @VICENewsEs

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