LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - An animal tranquilizer 100 times more potent than the deadly fentanyl has shown up in victims of drug overdose deaths in Lubbock, according to Lubbock County Medical Examiner Dr. Sridjar Natarajan.
Authorities say drug dealers are mixing this substance with heroin and methamphetamine.
A drug raid on Oct. 27 revealed that an altered form of fentanyl, a legal opioid, is being used illegally and with fatal consequences.
Lubbock County Medical Examiner Dr. Sridhar Natarajan says that the number of deaths from fentanyl went from four, in the 25 months from 2014 through February of 2016, to four in the last three months and possibly as many as seven.
Now officials tell us that a drug 100 times more powerful than fentanyl, carfentanil, has also contributed to deaths in West Texas.
The National Institute of Health says this opioid has a quantitative potency approximately 10,000 times that of morphine and 100 times that of fentanyl - a drug so powerful it is not used in humans. When mixed with other illegal drugs, it becomes a killer.
Natarajan told KCBD that these four to seven overdoses on fentanyl or carfentanil are not from using the fentanyl patch.
"This is imported in a powder form and is cut with heroin, methamphetamines or other drugs," Natarajan said.
Lubbock Police Department officials told KCBD that the fentanyl found in Lubbock came from China. Our KCBD Investigates team easily found fentanyl powder for sale on websites based in China.
Dr. Natarajan emphasized that both drugs, fentanyl and carfentanil, are killers. Users may believe they are ingesting heroin or a mix of heroin and fentanyl when they are actually using carfentanil.
The Boston Globe reported that carfentanil is believed to be a factor in 175 deaths over six days in Hamilton County, Ohio (Cincinnati) in August.