Jefferson Parish coroner warns of dangerous fentanyl-like drugs after several local deaths

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METAIRIE, La. — Jefferson Parish Coroner Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich is alerting the public to the first reported deaths in Jefferson Parish due to the fentanyl analogues, carfentanil and para-fluorofentanyl.

In the first week of January 2021, the Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office reported two fatal overdoses of each. 

Carfentanil is a synthetic opioid approximately 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl. A common legal use of this drug is as an elephant tranquilizer.

The reported potency of para-fluorofentanyl is similar to that of fentanyl. Para-fluorofentanyl hasn’t been widely used yet.

Across the U.S., 16 deaths have been reported involving these new synthetic drugs as of December 2020.  Both drugs can resemble powdered cocaine or heroin and can be ingested via snorting, oral pills or IV injection.   

The presence of these drugs in Jefferson Parish and the surrounding parishes is cause for concern given their relative strength and the potential for an increase in overdoses and overdose-related deaths, even among opioid tolerant users.

These drugs are usually sold to users that think they are getting heroin or fentanyl. The public and law enforcement should be on full alert due to the extreme danger of these very highly potent and potentially deadly drugs.   

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