NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - Carfentanil is a synthetic opioid that is 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl. Carfentanil is typically used as a tranquilizing agent for elephants and other large animals. But the DEA says carfentanil is behind an increase in fatal overdoses in the Midwest. Dealers cut the drug into heroin to boost profits.
Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, president and CEO of Family and Children's Association, says it is only a matter of time until it makes its way to New York.
It is a lethal threat to both the user and first responder. Unlike fentanyl, any exposure to the drug can result in overdose or death. Officials in both Nassau and Suffolk counties are concerned about whether Narcan, used to reverse an overdose, will even work on carfentanil.
Officials say about 400 people on Long Island overdose and die each year. That used to be 25 deaths a year not too long ago.
So far, carfentanil has not been linked to any fatal overdoses on Long Island. Nassau County will be holding a training session in April where people can learn how to safely treat people under the influence of carfentanil.