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Deadly Drug Hitting Streets of South Florida
- More than 50 Broward deaths in 6 months appear to be due to Carfentanil -
DATE: November 3, 2016
Dr. Craig Mallak, Chief Medical Examiner
Office of Medical Examiner and Trauma Services

PHONE: 954-357-5200

A drug so powerful that it's used to sedate 6,000 to 13,000 pound elephants has made it to the streets of South Florida, and people are dying.

New laboratory testing strongly suggests that a suspected 53 recent deaths handled by the Broward County Office of Medical Examiner and Trauma Services are due to Carfentanil, a synthetic opioid that's 100 times deadlier than fentanyl, which itself is nearly 50 times more lethal than heroin. Ingesting just a few granules of Carfentanil the size of table salt can kill you. It is by far the most deadly of the opiates readily available to those who use street drugs.

Carfentanil is so dangerous that First Responders, Medical Examiner and Medical personnel, and even drug-sniffing dogs who breathe its fumes are at risk and must be immediately treated with Narcan (Nalaxone) - a medication used to block the effects of opioids - or face death. 

In most circumstances, those buying and using drugs off the street don't even know they're ingesting it until it's too late. Even if they have a dose of Narcan available, Carfentanil can kill them before they can use it, according to Dr. Craig Mallak, Broward's Chief Medical Examiner. "If you're buying heroin or cocaine, or any drug on the streets for that matter, it could be laced with Carfentanil, and if it is there's a very high chance you will die," said Mallak. His office has seen three cases this week alone that are most probably due to Carfentanil.

The Drug Enforcement Administration has issued a Carfentanil warning to the public and law enforcement across the country to educate them about the dangers of this and other synthetic opiates. 

The DEA says most synthetic drugs such as this one come from China, through Mexico, but Dr. Mallak says it can also be made using recipes found on the internet.

If you, or a loved one has a drug problem, please contact the Broward Addiction Recovery Center at 954-357-4880 for help.

About Medical Examiner and Trauma Services     
The Office of the Medical Examiner and Trauma Services brings expert and independent medical evaluation to the investigation of deaths that are of concern to public health, safety and welfare of the community. The Office investigates cases of persons who die within its District 17 jurisdictional boundaries from criminal violence, by accident, by suicide, suddenly when in apparent good health, when not recently treated by a physician, while incarcerated or in any suspicious or unusual manner.  The Office also approves the cremations of persons who die within Broward County or are transported to Broward County for the purpose of cremation after death in another state or country. For more information, call 954-357-5200.

About Broward Addiction Recovery Center (BARC)
Broward Addiction Recovery Division in the Human Services Department is a substance abuse disorder assessment and treatment provider serving Broward County residents 18 years of age or older. Services at BARC include assessments, triage/medically supervised detoxification, residential treatment, nonresidential day treatment and outpatient treatment. To make a referral or an appointment, call 954-357-4880