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Elephant Tranquilizers Seen in Drug Markets

Submitted by Michael Lee, LCPD Public Information Officer

Lake City, Fla., – LCPD - After receiving an Alert today from the US Drug Enforcement Administration, Officers in Lake City are now keeping an eye out for Carfentanil, a synthetic opioid described as “approximately 10,000 times more potent than morphine.” According to the DEA, this drug is used primarily as a tranquilizer for elephants and other large mammals, but has recently been seen in illicit drug markets being sold for “recreational” use.

“This drug is a significant threat not only to the public, but even first responders,” said Lake City Police Chief Argatha Gilmore. “It can come in many forms, including powder, tablets, and sprays. It can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled, and even a small amount taken in accidentally can be lethal.”

Symptoms of exposure can include respiratory arrest, disorientation, sedation, and clammy skin. These signs may occur immediately. Because of the swift action of this drug, it is important for anyone who believes they have been exposed to call 9-1-1 immediately.

Carfentanil is estimated to be about 100 times more deadly than Fentanyl, which cause death in humans with as little as 2 milligrams (shown below, next to a penny). This means that an amount as small as 1% the size of this picture can kill a person.

“We have not yet seen any cases of this drug being used in Lake City, but with our location along two major traffic corridors, it is important that we keep a watchful eye to keep our community safe,” said Gilmore.

2mg Fentanyl, shown next to a penny-

An amount of Carfentanil 1% this size


Photo courtesy LCPD