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New strains of fentanyl are resistant to Narcan

Posted: 11:25 AM, Jun 28, 2017
Updated: 2017-06-28 11:25:00-04
New strains of fentanyl are resistant to Narcan

FORSYTH COUNTY, GA (WSB/WLS/CNN) - The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is sounding an alarm over new strains of the illicit synthetic opioid fentanyl.

One new strain, acryilfentanyl, was detected in a drug seizure submitted by the Forsyth County Sheriff’s office in early spring, when EMTs responded to four opioid overdoses - two of them fatal - in one weekend.

“It’s a very serious situation and it’s very dangerous,” said Nelly Miles of the GBI. “There are multiple reports that this drug is resistant to naloxone."

Naloxone, marketed as the brand Narcan, is a life-saving antidote to opioid overdoses. But in many cases, the antidote doesn't seem to work to reverse the effects of acrylfentanyl.

In Cook County, IL, officials cited 44 overdose deaths so far this year caused by acrylfentanyl. And now it’s in Georgia, Miles said.

But it’s not just acrylfentanyl. The GBI also tested another fentanyl chemical seized in Forsyth - called tetrahydrofuran fentanyl -  that is unique and so new that it is not yet on the list of banned synthetic designer drugs in the state.

“It’s a long name. We haven’t seen it before, and unfortunately it isn’t covered under Georgia law yet,” Miles said.

Residents say more needs to be done to stop these illegal, deadly drugs from entering the US.

“You hear on the news all the time. A lot of people dying,” said Forsyth County resident Sharon Feller. “It’s a very sad story.”

Law enforcement officials say online sales of fentanyl powder are a big factor behind the epidemic.

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