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Carfentanil Seizure Brings Opioid Epidemic To Houston

Houston is not immune from the opioid epidemic. Houston’s crime lab has confirmed a seizure of the deadly opioid carfentanil. Not only is the drug dangerous for the abuser, it’s also dangerous for first responders.


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Ed Mayberry
Dr. Peter Stout with the Houston Forensic Science Center, flanked by Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo and Mayor Sylvester Turner and others.

The Houston Forensic Science Lab says a drug seized on June 7th — field-tested as methamphetamine — turned out to be carfentanil. Dr. Peter Stout with the crime lab held up a tiny baggie as an example.

“So just to give you a perspective, this is sugar — I didn’t bring the real stuff with me, but this is sugar. But what we received was 80 milligrams of carfentanil. That much right there is enough for 4,000 lethal doses. The lethal dose of this, you can’t even see.”

Ed Mayberry
Dr. Peter Stout with the Houston Forensic Science Center, holds up a baggie of sugar that represents the small amount of Carfentanil needed to kill as many as 4,000 people.

A lethal dose could be as little as 20 micrograms. That’s a problem for police officers and EMTs. If it gets on your finger and you touch your mouth or eyes, it can kill you. Fentanil and the more powerful Carfentanil are sometimes pressed into pills to look like vicodin or xanax. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo says police are receiving special training.

“We are urging all first responders to make the assumption that there’s fentanil in the drug that they’re dealing with. We are in the process of ordering better, thicker gloves for our personnel, and we’re actually asking them to put two layers of gloves on for the extra safety.”

Better masks are being purchased for first responders. Narcotics officers now carry the antidote Narcan. Mayor Sylvester Turner says the city will find the dollars to equip more officers with the antidote.

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