Sheriff: Carfentanil may already be in Harford Co.

Posted at 11:35 PM, Apr 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-25 23:35:18-04

Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler told ABC2 he wouldn't be surprised if Carfentanil is already on Harford County streets.

"We're already experiencing a horrific increase in our overdoses. A truly horrific increase in our fatalities related to overdose and when Carfentanil hits... unfortunately, it may have already hit." 

Robert Massa, Vice President of The Turning Point Project says the opioid epidemic is only going to get worse before it gets better.

"It just makes it more dangerous either for a person in recovery who's relapsed or the user that's out there using and doesn't realize that it's going to be in this next batch they get."

It's a dangerous game of Russian roulette with a synthetic drug--100 times more potent than Fentanyl -- that can too easily kill its user.

"It's something as small as a grain of rice can cause an overdose that's how potent the Carfentanil is so we are taking precautions we've already, knowing it was coming advanced our policies," Gahler said.

Policies and procedures designed to keep first responders and officers safe should they have to handle the drug--and while the spread of Carfentanil is not surprising to law enforcement--it's worrisome.

"It could already be a problem, either way we've lost that life whether it was Fentanyl or Carfentanil but we knew it was coming.  If it's in Anne Arundel county, if it's in Frederick county, it's in Harford county," Gahler said.

One of the problems is that Carfentanil is so easy to get.

"Being like heroin, being like Fentanyl, it's cheap it can be purchased over the dark web because it's manufactured not grown," Gahler told ABC2.

And despite a state wide effort, the opioid issue continues to take lives.

Massa, a recovering addict said, "It's always darkest before the dawn. I don't think we've seen the darkest point yet. It's important that people know that we're here, it's important for people to know that you can get help that you can recover."

Gahler says Harford County is up over 200 percent for the county's overdose deaths this year.  He adds Carfentanil is so dangerous that he's changed the protocol for how officers handle unknown drugs.