Fentanyl has made its way to Elmore County, sheriff says

Updated: May. 19, 2017 at 6:20 PM CDT
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ELMORE COUNTY, AL (WSFA) - It looks like heroin, and it's even being sold as heroin, but fentanyl is a lethal drug that can be fatal, simply through skin contact.

"It's killing a lot of folks, and it's reaching folks here in Elmore County," Sheriff Bill Franklin explained.

So far, investigators have made one fentanyl-related arrest, multiple overdoses have been reported.

"It's a heroin base, mixed with fentanyl," Franklin explained. "These people don't realize the fentanyl they are taking is about 40 times more powerful than street level heroin. These kids don't have a clue what they are dealing with."

Many opioid addicts are trading painkillers for heroin, which is cheaper and more accessible. Some of the killer heroin cocktails also include another synthetic drug called carfentanil, it's 100 times more potent than heroin.

"They think they are taking street level heroin, and they are not getting street level heroin," Franklin said. "The potency is killing everyone. That's the true fact of the matter, there's a lot of people dying out there – dying like flies."

Fentanyl exposure poses a serious risk for law enforcement. Franklin's narcotics officers are armed with Narcan, an injection that can reverse a deadly overdose. He's most concerned for his young first responders, who have less experience.

"They are very fearful of it," Franklin said."Especially those who are young and have kids. They just want to go home when the bell rings."

Franklin says his office will push to charge distributors with manslaughter for fatal fentanyl overdoses.

"Gray death heroin, it looks like concrete, clay or powder based," Franklin explained. "These kids are getting into something and they have no idea – they are going to sleep and not waking up."

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