Narcan won't save you from this type of fentanyl

Published: May. 1, 2017 at 5:40 PM CDT
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It’s a type of fentanyl that’s resistant to Narcan, and it’s popping up across the country. The DEA in Pennsylvania is warning people to be on the lookout as this drug continues devastating lives, unlike its medically based cousin. It’s called acryl fentanyl, another form of the drug that’s 100 times more powerful than morphine.

"Narcan is not the 100% fail safe that people may think it is, it does not always work," explained West Fargo Police Interim Chief Jerry Boyer.

At a recent news conference, police and health officials warned about the deadly opioids like fentanyl. But unlike fentanyl which has a medical use, and carfentanil which is used by veterinarians, acryl fentanyl has no purpose.

"Acryl Fentanyl is not currently a federal controlled substance as it's not scheduled, although it may be considered a fentanyl analog," said DEA Special Agent Russ Baer.

A DEA report shows the different types of fentanyl and derivatives recently seized and tested by their forensic lab in the first quarter of the year. Acryl fentanyl started appearing to the DEA last fall, and comes in a powder, looking similar to other forms. The DEA says that even narcotics experts couldn’t tell the difference without testing.

"These are dangerous drugs. They're cut by these dealers who don't care about anything other than making a profit. It can be cut with anything," said DEA Special Agent Battiste.

The DEA says it is not clear how and why this acryl fentanyl is resistant to Narcan. The drug is being manufactured overseas, and smuggled into the U.S. The DEA says it mainly comes from China, but in March that country made it illegal to export four fentanyl classes including carfentanil and acryl fentanyl.

In 2016, there were about 30 opioid overdose deaths in Cass County alone according to Fargo Cass Public Health. They report seeing several deaths a month so far this year.