Deadly drug used as elephant tranquilizer suspected of surfacing on St. Louis streets

ST. LOUIS - A local organization focused on helping drug users has issued a street advisory about a deadly drug they believe is surfacing on St. Louis streets.  Carfentanil is typically used as a tranquilizer for elephants.

“You hear stories of people who overdosed that they’re found with the needle still in their arm or they’re really in weird positions, that’s kind of indicative of what we’re seeing,” said Aaron Laxton, director of street outreach for Missouri Network for Opiate Reform and Recovery.

He takes what was once an ambulance into neighborhoods where drug use is common.  The vehicle contains Narcan, a nasal spray that can reverse an overdose.  Laxton hands out Narcan and puts users in touch with treatment programs in an effort to save lives.  His own niece died from an overdose.

“We need more funding for treatment.  We need more funding for detox,” said Laxton.

He said in recent days his organization has seen an increase in overdoses and has found larger doses of Narcan have been needed to override the overdoses, and indication that carfentanil was consumed.  It is considered even more dangerous than fentanyl which is deadlier than heroin.

Laxton hopes this most recent news will be even more incentive for users to quit and for the community to support efforts to find help.

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