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Police suspect deadly mix of heroin and an elephant tranquilizer has turned up in Michigan

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The Kent County Sheriff’s Department put out the warning Friday in part to try to warn heroin users. ";

Officials from the Kent County Sheriff’s Department say they believe they’ve encountered heroin laced with carfentanil in three separate cases this month.

Carfentanil is 10,000 times more potent than morphine. It’s commonly used to tranquilize large animals. The drug caused a spike in overdose deaths this summer in Ohio.

“It’s extremely dangerous. You don’t want to touch it. If you touched it, it would get in your blood stream and it could ultimately kill you,” Kent County Sheriff’s Captain David Kok said.

Kok says they have to send the substance to a special lab to confirm it is carfentanil. But he says a state police lab indicates it likely is. If so, it’s the first time the drug has been confirmed in Michigan.

Kok says the Kent County Sheriff’s Department put out the warning Friday in part to try to warn heroin users.

Police worry because Narcan, a drug that’s used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, may not be effective for someone who’s ingested the more powerful carfentanil blend.

Lindsey Smith is Michigan Radio’s investigative reporter. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor and West Michigan Reporter.
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