*Editors’ note: The original version of this story by the author stated incorrectly that Carfentanil can be deadly if touched. It is not deadly if touched, but law enforcement has been warned to wear protective gear if they come in contact with it. We regret the error*
COLUMBUS (WJW) — It’s a drug so powerful it’s used by veterinarians to tranquilize elephants that weigh over six tons.
A warning about authorities seeing an uptick in the drug being illegally used around the state was issued Friday by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.
“Carfentanil is a lethal synthetic opioid that has reemerged in several Ohio drug cases,” Yost said. “It’s an increase that could foreshadow a rise in overdoses.”
Law enforcement said tranquilizers like Carfentanil, which is 100 times more potent than fentanyl and 10,000 times more powerful than morphine, are being used by some drug users in Ohio.
The drug is showing up in Northeast Ohio’s Trumbull County and in the Columbus area resulting in overdoses which concerns Yost that it could lead to more deadly cases.
Carfentanil often takes the form of a white, brown, tan or beige powdery substance.
“Officers and first responders should wear proper personal protective equipment and use caution in handling evidence suspected of containing carfentanil or any fentanyl-related substance, particularly in conjunction with an overdose,” Yost said.