SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Police said they have suspicions that the synthetic opioids fentanyl and carfentanil are on the streets of Spokane.
SPD officials are concerned about these drugs. The drugs are different because a small exposure to them can cause an overdose.
"A mere 2 milligrams could be lethal to a human," Sergeant Jay Kernkamp with the Spokane Police Department said.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid drug used for pain relief and It is about 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin.
"Essentially fentanyl is a drug used to tranquilize elephants or large animals," Kernkamp said.
But the drug has found its way onto the streets and can be disguised as a powder, liquid, pill or black tar mix making it almost impossible to identify on the spot.
The Drug Enforcement Administration made a video warning first responders who may come in contact with it because the drug is so dangerous.
"I want to take a minute today to talk to you about something very important. as a matter of fact it could kill you, and that's fentanyl. Fentanyl is now being sold as heroin in virtually every corner of our country,” the video states.
According to the video, an officer in Ohio stopped two men who told him this white powder was cocaine, but it was carfentanil. The officer got some on his fingertips, it absorbed into his skin and was enough to knock him unconscious.
It took four doses of Narcan to revive him.
“Never dreamed that something dangerous would be such a minute piece of powder,” the Ohio officer said.
Two officers featured in the DEA video said inhaling a small puff of the powder was enough for them to overdose.
Spokane Police said there have been reports of fentanyl in the northwest region up in Canada and in larger cities nearby. They have not yet come in contact with it on the streets of Spokane, but have reason to believe it is already here.
"We have yet to find it, we hear about it on the street, we have intelligence briefings that inform us that it's in this region,” Kernkamp said. “However at this time we have yet to make an arrest on it or actually place it on to property."
Spokane Police said the reemergence of fentanyl makes officers on the street extremely cautious. They often test narcotics in the field multiple times a day, so they are trying to get in the habit of wearing protective gear every time.
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