TBI says new deadly, potent drug carfentanil found in Tennessee

Published: Jun. 15, 2017 at 5:31 PM EDT
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The new street drug carfentanil that almost killed a police officer in Ohio has now made its way to Tennessee.

Local 8 News Anchor Lauren Davis was in Nashville for a press conference Thursday where the TBI, the Department of Health, Tennessee Highway Patrol, and the Department of Mental Health sounded the alarm on this extremely potent and deadly new drug.

Fentanyl and heroin have been around for several years now, but there's a new drug on the street that officials say can kill you instantly.

Carfentanil has made its way to Tennessee in the last three weeks.

TBI Director Mark Gwyn said, "It's 10,000 times more potent than morphine and is used to put large animals like elephants to sleep."

Gwyn said the dealers are buying pill presses online and putting this drug in pill form, and they are capable of making 10,000 pills an hour. Gwyn said, "If it sounds like we are sounding an alarm, we are. We are worried about mass casualties in our state."

Recently an officer in Ohio almost died just from touching carfentanil, so the Tennessee Highway Patrol said their officers are no longer field testing drugs, but instead sending them to the TBI lab in Nashville. THP officer are now wearing gloves and protective clothing to stay safe. They have eight interdiction drug teams across the state, and they recently confiscated 20 pounds of Fentanyl.

"This is a public health crisis," THP Colonel Tracy Trott said. "It is a crime, and it is very dangerous and we must alert the public on this health crisis."

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health said if you have a drug problem, don't be ashamed, but get help. Tennessee is receiving $13.8 million from the federal government, plus $6 million reoccurring from Governor Haslam to help people addicted to drugs.

Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Marie Williams said, "This is a different ball game altogether. If you take something and don't know what it is, you could be dead in one minute."

So far the TBI said they have tested 10 samples of carfentanil in Tennessee. They are urging addicts to get help now before it is too late.

Call 1-800-889-9789 if you need help.