Ohio is Seeing More Carfentanil Than Any Other State — By a Large Margin

The pink substance is heroin and carfentanil, seized by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office in August.
The pink substance is heroin and carfentanil, seized by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office in August.
A new Associated Press report informs that law enforcement has seized various amounts of carfentanil 407 times in the U.S. since July, when an overwhelming wave of opiate overdoses first crashed across wide swaths of the country. Carfentanil, you'll recall, is the elephant sedative that has wormed its way into the heroin supply chain.

The drug is 100 times more powerful that fentanyl, which itself is 80 times more powerful than heroin. To be clear, all it takes is a snowflake-sized amount to kill a human, even through seemingly benign skin contact. Unwitting addicts have been shooting this stuff into their bloodstream and dying in droves.

Ohio is ground zero for this latest wave; here, the logic goes, a growing demand has spurred a new movement of dealers cutting their product with synthetic and high-powered pharmaceutical drugs like carfentanil. People are dying, yes, and still more people are seeking this stuff out.

In fact, Ohio alone accounts for 343 of those 407 carfentanil seizures.

From the AP:

The resulting wave of human misery has been overwhelming. In just 21 days in July, paramedics in Akron, Ohio, logged 236 overdoses, including 14 fatalities, with suspected links to carfentanil, according to the DEA. In the first six months of this year, in contrast, they dealt with a total of 320 overdoses of all kinds. In September, the Ohio coroner’s office confirmed eight carfentanil overdose deaths in Cincinnati, the DEA said.

The true scope of the problem is likely bigger. The seizure data from the DEA only reflects samples confirmed as carfentanil by federal, state and local forensic laboratories. Some local authorities may not have tested specifically for the drug — not all labs even have the capacity to do so — and toxicology tests can lag for months as coroners struggle with a backlog of autopsies, according to the DEA.

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Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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