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Oneida County

October 19, 2020 - 2:49pm

Although a local drug treatment professional has yet to see any signs of Carfentanil surfacing in this area, she said news that the powerful man-made opioid has appeared in test results in Oneida County is deeply concerning.

“Yes, I am aware of Carfentanil and the extreme toxicity of it,” said Kathy S. Hodgins, chief clinical officer at Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. “Currently, we haven't seen or heard of any cases in Genesee or Orleans counties.”

Hodgins said her agency does have the capabilities “of testing if we suspect any use of it.”

Published reports earlier this week indicated that government and health officials in the Utica area issued a warning about the synthetic drug, which is considered to be 10,000 times more powerful than morphine and 100 times stronger than fentanyl.

According to a story from WKTV, Utica, dealers mix Carfentanil -- an odorless, white powder -- with other drugs to make them stronger and cheaper.

Carfentanil is used as a tranquilizer for large animals such as elephants.

Oneida County officials said the dose the size of a “single grain of salt can quickly lead to an overdose or death.”

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. issued a press release, stating that he didn’t know the full extent of the presence of Carfentanil in the local drug supply, but, “because it is so lethal even to handle, we want to make sure that people who use drugs, first responders and other providers are alerted immediately so they can take precautions to protect themselves.”

“Carfentanil is so potent that it causes a rapid overdose, which may not be reversible even with multiple doses of Narcan or treatment,” he said.

Christen Ferraro, coordinator of GOW Opioid Task Force that covers Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties, sent out an email bulletin to the group’s 300-plus members, and the state’s Office of Addiction Services and Supports has put the word out to local opioid overdose prevention programs (OOPPs), drug user health hubs, and syringe exchange programs.

Disclosure: Story by Mike Pettinella, GCASA publicist.

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