Coroner in Louisiana warns of discovery of dangerous fentanyl-like drugs linked to deaths

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FILE – This photo provided by the U.S. Attorneys Office for Utah and introduced as evidence in a 2019 trial shows fentanyl-laced fake oxycodone pills collected during an investigation. In a resumption of a brutal trend, nearly 71,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2019 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a new record high that predates the COVID-19 crisis. The numbers were driven by fentanyl and similar synthetic opioids, which accounted for 36,500 overdose deaths. (U.S. Attorneys Office for Utah via AP)

JEFFERSON PARISH, La. (WDSU) — The Jefferson Parish Coroner is warning the public of the first reported deaths in the parish due to the fentanyl analogues, carfentanil and para-fluorofentanyl.

According to Gerry Cvitanovich in the first week of January, 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,” an issued news release from the coroner’s office said.

“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, according to the coroner.

The coroner said these drugs are usually sold to users that think they are getting heroin or fentanyl.

The coroner says 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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