Washington state doctors find carfentanyl in autopsies

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SEATTLE (AP) — Doctors at a county medical examiner’s office in Washington state have discovered a synthetic opioid in their community that is 100 times stronger than fentanyl.

The doctors at the Whatcom County Medical Examiner’s office found the drug carfentanyl during autopsies on overdose victims, KING-TV reported Friday.

“This does pose a risk and a danger to our community,” Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Kevin Hester said. “We’re kind of seeing carfentanyl in its infancy here in Whatcom County, and we expect it to take on a growing precedence.”

A pinhead-sized amount of the drug could be lethal, Hester added.

The area reported just four fentanyl-related overdoses in 2019. The number of overdoses jumped to 23 last year, the television station reported.

There have been 11 overdoses in the first three months of 2021.

“We’re on pace to double last year,” Hester said.

Five of the overdose deaths have occurred during the past two weeks. Officials said carfentanyl is believed to have played a part in several of those cases.

The drug comes in pill or powder form and is often passed off as Oxycontin, Xanax, Percocet, heroin and meth, the outlet reported.