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'This drug will kill you': Potent Carfentanyl found in Queensland

Brisbane Times logo Brisbane Times 4 days ago Toby Crockford

Carfentanyl is a synthetic analog of fentanyl (pictured) and has been used to sedate elephants. It can be ingested, injected or enter a person's system through touch. © Provided by Brisbane Times Carfentanyl is a synthetic analog of fentanyl (pictured) and has been used to sedate elephants. It can be ingested, injected or enter a person's system through touch. An urgent safety warning has been issued for Queensland after a one-touch death drug 10,000 times more potent than morphine was found in Brisbane.

Carfentanyl, a powerful anaesthetic used to sedate elephants, was intercepted at a Brisbane mail centre by Australian Border Force officials.

The discovery was made earlier in the month and after scientific tests it was proven to be the drug that can kill a person who simply touches it.

"I am advised that Carfentanyl is a highly toxic and potent synthetic based drug, with a 0.002mg dose enough to kill a person," Police Minister Mark Ryan said.

"The fact that this illegal drug has been located in Queensland is very concerning and together with the police, we are urging people to not take any risks at all with this illicit drug."

Just a few granules the size of table salt can be lethal for humans and be administered through ingestion, injection or touch.

Detective Superintendent Jon Wacker of the Drug and Serious Crime Group said the drug originated from China.

He added it was rare for police to inform the public halfway through an investigation, but the danger of the drug was too great to hold off.

Superintendent Wacker also held concerns for first responders who may have to deal with overdoses of the drug, fearing they could also fall victim.

"We are very concerned to see this drug in Queensland," he said.

"Because of its capacity to cause death, it is important we get the message out as soon as possible to the community. 

"Make no mistake, these are not party drugs. These are dangerous drugs and it's not a matter of if it will kill you – this drug will kill you."

Dr Adam Griffin from Queensland Health said Carfentanyl was related to morphine, heroin and quickly stopped a person's breathing once in their system.

He also said it wasn't possible to distinguish from ecstasy or MDMA with the naked eye and could be sold as a powder, tablet or spray.

According to Time Magazine, it has already had an impact in the United States, where about 300 people overdosed in a month last year.

However, police said the drug was relatively new in Australia, with one confirmed detection in Sydney by the ABF in December 2016 and this most recent detection in Queensland.

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