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By Shauna Krout


Photo:  Carfentanil, an elephant tranquilizer, is turning up in street drugs—and its killing users (Creative Commons)


August 8, 2019 (San Diego) - Overdoses are happening everywhere, all over the country. In our current society, the streets are filled to the brim with laced heroin that’s often mixed with carfentaniland other fentanyl analogs. Dealers are now adding it to street pressed pills, cocaine, meth and marijuana too. 


Carfentanil was made in 1974 to be used to tranquilize elephants and other large mammals. It’s not meant for human consumption. Most of the time carfentanil cannot be reversed by Narcan, the anti-opioid overdose reversal drug used today. Someone who is exposed to Carfentanil can experience dizziness, clammy skin, shallow breathing, heart failure and respiratory depression leading to a fatal overdose. 


Carfentanil and other opioids are responsible for a high number of overdose deaths in the US every year. Addiction is a completely preventable condition. No one should have to die as a result of their addiction. Any addict who does ceases to be a son, daughter, mother, or father but instead becomes a mere statistic of our nation’s massive drug crisis. 


San Diego County offers referrals for drug abuse prevention and treatment at:


  • If you are experiencing a medical or mental health emergency, contact 9-1-1. 
  • For screening, referrals or more information about substance use disorders treatment services, call the Access and Crisis Line at 888-724-7240 (TTY: 711)
  • If you are a treatment provider working with a client you feel may benefit from a screening for substance use disorder, please call the Access and Crisis Line at 888-724-7240 (TTY: 711 or contact any SUD program directly to refer your client for a screening and referral. For a list of programs in your region, please follow the Provider Directory link here.

For more information on the opiate epidemic, visit 

The opinions in this editorial reflect the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine. To submit an editorial for consideration, contact

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