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Authorities brace for more overdoses after Maryland deaths linked to elephant sedative

April 24th, 2017 by WCBC Radio

Authorities are bracing for more overdoses in Maryland after the first deadly cases emerged of carfentanil, a synthetic drug developed to sedate elephants that's far more potent than heroin or morphine.The Baltimore Sun reports medical examiners detected the drug in recent autopsies of two people from Anne Arundel County and one person from Frederick County who apparently overdosed. They were Maryland's first grim cases of the potent opioid that has gripped the Midwest.

"Usually when there's one or two cases, there's going to be several more right behind it," said Steven Bell, a spokesman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Carfentanil often comes as an off-white powder and a single grain, comparable to a grain of salt, could produce a high or even prove deadly for an adult, Bell said. The new drug is 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 5,000 times more potent than heroin, according to the DEA.

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