Carfentanil: The Opioid So Strong That It Can Kill From Mere Skin Contact


Most opioids are habit forming and can require rehabilitation, and virtually all of them can also cause a fatal overdose when taken in a sufficiently high enough dosage. However, few opioids can be lethal merely from coming into physical contact with the skin, except one – Carfentanil. Here is what you should know about this extremely dangerous substance.

It Is 10,000 Times More Powerful Than Morphine

Morphine is an extremely potent opioid that was used by soldiers during the Vietnam War to suppress terrible pain and the rigors of combat. It is notorious for its potency and addictive potential, and yet this new drug Carfentanil is 10,000 times stronger. It is so strong that first responders found it incredibly difficult to help those who were foolish enough to try it. Three people have already died from using it and more are expected to follow, although some experts believe this drug is so lethal that many will steer clear of it unless they intend to take their own lives.

What Makes Carfentanil So Hazardous?

One key factor which makes this drug so potentially hazardous is the original purpose of its development. Carfentanil was originally designed to be a tranquilizer for elephants. Clearly, there is a tremendous size difference between a human and elephant, and any substance which is strong enough to put an elephant to sleep temporarily would put a human to sleep permanently. Carfentanil is lethal to humans at approximately twenty micrograms. This means it’s so potent that it can kill a human by sprinkling the powder on their skin. As a consequence, it has been said that when authorities work with the substance they do so in hazmat suits, which are normally used in environments high in radiation.

What Authorities Are Doing About It

Even those who are fortunate enough to not be instantly killed from trying to use this drug are still in danger even after arriving to the hospital, because doctors are finding it notoriously difficult to reverse the overdoses. Narcan is normally the drug that is used to reverse most overdoses, but Carfentanil is no ordinary drug. Studies have shown that when doctors are confronted with a patient who has overdosed on Carfentanil, they have to use much higher doses of Narcan just to revive them. It will take time to develop a drug that is effective against Carfentanil overdoses, if it’s even possible to develop one at all.

Authorities are now demanding stronger laws to curtail availability of the substance. This in turn will require the intervention of federal agencies which will lead to additional restrictions on the legal drug market. The government is currently focused on opioids, particularly heroin, due to the number of people who have become addicted, and the U.S. Congress has responded by imposing various restrictions on who can be prescribed opioids. It is believed that those determined to access Carfentanil will do so on the black market.


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