Erie Co. health officials watching for carfentanil

Posted at 11:31 PM, Feb 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-21 23:31:58-05

Heroin and fentanyl have been on the radar for years in Erie County and now so is carfentanil.
It's a drug, often cut with heroin that is 10,000 times more powerful than morphine. It's often used as an elephant tranquilizer.

Carfentanil has already killed in other areas, including southern Florida. That’s where WKBW’s sister station, WPTV, spoke to a director of a recovery center who explains why there is a market for such a drug. 

“When they hear something is stronger, they automatically think it gets me higher,” said Justin Kunzelman of Ebb Tide Treatment Centers. He's convinced the carfentanil problem will only get worse and more widespread.

Police in Erie County, say they haven't discovered the drug, yet. It has been found as close as Ohio. 

Carfentanil is such a powerful drug it could harm people who aren't even using it. First responders or someone who finds an overdose victim could actually be poisoned from skin-to-skin contact.

“If you do find something in your home. Let law enforcement deal with it. Don't play with it. Don't touch it. Fentanyl can be incredibly toxic to people who don't have an opioid tolerance,” said Frank Scarpinato with the Erie County Health Department.

According to Erie County Emergency Services, first responders are already trained to wear protective equipment when dealing with overdose victims.  

Since the start of 2017, there have already been 50 suspected opioid related deaths in Erie County. 


24 hour addiction hotline for Buffalo and Erie County: 716-831-7007