Health and law enforcement officials around the state are bracing for an uptick in drug overdoses as a deadly synthetic opioid only meant for use in large animals has hit Maryland streets.
The drug, carfentanil, already has been linked to two overdose deaths in Anne Arundel County and one in Frederick County. The drug is so potent it was never meant for use in humans and is normally used as a tranquilizer for elephants, hippos and other large animals.
It is 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 5,000 times more potent than heroin, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Health and police departments throughout the state have issued special alerts about carfentanil, while clinics and others who work with addicts are taking extra efforts to warn them about the danger of the drug.