Horse tranquilizers: The newest theat to America’s opioid crisis

Horse tranquilizers: The newest theat to America’s opioid crisis

Drugs that can induce addiction usually turn out to cause more harm than good.  Scientists are constantly synthesizing new and powerful substances capable of altering the way our central nervous systems function. Yes, there are obviously benefits and a potential upside to these new drugs – but there is usually an even larger downside, as evidenced by unrecognized, unintended and disastrous consequences. Not to mention we are in the midst of a deadly opioid epidemic.

Initially triggered by shameless drug companies, we continue to spin even further out of control.  Most people can agree, the world would be a better place if OxyContin didn’t exist, but obviously there’s no going back now. To make matters worse, it’s been discovered that OxyContin has offspring – and they are exceptionally powerful. These new substances have proven themselves be far more potent and dangerous to the user than any other opioid synthesized to date.

“Fentanyl and Carfentanil are being recognized as the biggest and most devastating new threat to America’s opioid epidemic”

Until recently, I thought things had gotten about as bad as they could possibly be, but frightening events in the last few months have proven me wrong. The expanding market, comprised of those addicted to prescription opioids, has created an expanding market of secondary heroin users. The vast population of people now addicted to prescription opioid medication has become much smaller. This is partially due to the fact that a small and vulnerable portion of individuals have resulted to cheaper, far more potent, and even deadlier alternatives.

Drug dealers have learned that they can increase the desirability of their products by cutting new and more potent substances into their existing mix. Unfortunately, users have almost no way of knowing if a heroin batch has been mixed with Carfentanil, nor that this “intensified effect” promised by their dealer is in fact capable of killing them. Commonly used as a tranquilizer for large mammals in veterinary practice, Carfentanil has made its way to the streets and into the hands of opiate addicts across the county.


This drug is so potent that only 10 milligrams can immediately knock a 15,000 pound elephant straight to its ass, and possibly even kill it. (Mind you, this dose weighs only a fraction of a paper clip, so in a sense it’s practically nothing). Not only is this drug 10,000 more potent than Morphine, it’s also 100 times more potent than Fentanyl. And if you have any knowledge on the composition or effects of opiates, or any other drugs for that matter – I’m sure you can see and understand the nature of this problem.

But for those of you who don’t, I’ll try to put it in perspective. Let’s consider a 250 lb. male after just ingesting a drug originally intended to knock out Dumbo, or even Shamu, our favorite friend from SeaWorld. If a 10 milligram dose is capable of sedating or killing single elephant, common sense makes it safe to assume that the same dose should be sufficiently capable of taking out roughly SIXTY men, right?

From a logical standpoint, I think it’s safe to assume that a dose of this size would undeniably turn lethal when given to a single human.  When authorities express great worry about kilograms’ worth of these drugs making their way into the North American heroin supply will be, they mean it. Think about it. If milligrams can kill an elephant, what could happen if kilograms of these synthetic drugs find their way to underground drug markets across America? My only guess is that morgues would begin filling up at rate too fast for anyone to keep up.

“This should be a classic cautionary tale of unintended consequences informing future FDA approval considerations”

The new high potency, synthetic opioids may eventually wind up driving heroin off the market and will be much more dangerous precisely because their high potency makes them so much more difficult to titrate and much less forgiving of mistakes. In regard to Fentanyl and Carfentanil, the current concern about the great damage they are already causing, and the much greater future risks, unfortunately may have come too late. So what can we do about it?

The best we can do now is extensively publicize the dangers of high potency opioids. By informing the public that high doses of drugs this potent cannot be handled by the human body without experiencing disastrous consequences. Users need to be aware that they are frequently added, without notice, to batches of other drugs, making any buy potentially a lethal one. And we must extensively expand our treatment and rehabilitation facilities for those already addicted to any form of opioid.

Learn more about the nationwide alert on fentanyl as a threat to health and public safety.

DEA Issues Carfentanil Warning to Police and Public

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