Michigan: 1st likely death related to opiate for elephants

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan health and law enforcement officials say they have identified what could be the state’s first death related to carfentanil (kahr-FEHN’-tuh-nihl), a deadly painkiller used to tranquilize elephants.

The Michigan State Police and Health and Human Services Department said Monday they are investigating one suspected case in Kent County. Officials say testing of powder seized during an investigation found it has the same ingredients as carfentanil.

The drug is mixed with heroin and sometimes sold in pill form. It’s been linked to fatal overdoses in Ohio.

Health department spokeswoman Angela Minicuci says given carfentanil’s likely circulation in the state and extreme potency, investigators anticipate they will see more overdoses related to the drug.

Officials say the Michigan Poison Control Center hasn’t reported a rise in calls related to drug overdoses.

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