City warns of dangerous carfentanil after one dies in Louisville

Carfentanil fears rise after recent death

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Carfentanil, a drug the DEA describes as 10,000 times as potent as morphine and is a tranquilizer for elephants and large mammals, is blamed for the death of one person from Louisville, according to the city's health department

"There has been one case that has been confirmed through the Medical Examiner's Office and there are other cases that are being examined," said Dr. Joann Schulte, Director of Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness.

Dr. Schulte says besides the one confirmed death, there are other signs fentanyl and carfentanil are being used in street drugs in Louisville.

"What sparked the concern on it was that EMS would be called, they would administer the narcan, and the person will decide I am not going to the hospital, I am up, I am breathing, then they would get subsequent calls for the same person. So that was one indication something was going on," said Dr. Joann Schulte.

The dangerous strength something Heather Gibson Director of Program Services at the Healing Place says they have been preparing for since the DEA sent out a warning on carfentanil and fentanyl in September.

"It is taking a bigger doses of Narcan to counteract fentanyl and carfentanil so, and we've seen that and we are prepared for that and knowing that even if you are able to reverse an overdose that carfentanil is so strong that someone may require further doses, sometime later once the Narcan wears off," said Gibson.

Dr. Schulte says these drugs are a concern for first responders because some can be absorbed through the skin. WHAS11 spoke with Louisville EMS, and they say they treat every scene as unsafe. They are not taking any special precautions at the moment, but they will continue to evaluate as time goes on.

Dr. Schulte also says more still needs to be done in the primary prevention of the problem. She says before starting heroin, many people take opioids from their medicine cabinet. She suggests people take advantage of the city's drug take-back program.

The next drug Take-back event will be on Wednesday, April 12 from 5:50 – 8:00 p.m. at the LMPD Third Division Headquarters at 7219 Dixie Highway.

The following are the locations of safe medication disposal drop boxes.  These are also locations where people can dispose of their unused medications.

  • Jefferson County Sheriff's Department 531 Court Place, 6th Floor Open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • St. Matthews City Hall/St. Matthews-Eline library  3940 Grandview Ave. Accessible 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
  • Shively Police Department, 800 Park Drive 24-hour drop-off box at its headquarters
  • Norton Hospital – Downtown, 200 E. Chestnut Street Louisville, KY 40202Norton Women's and Children's Hospital, 4001 Dutchmans Lane Louisville, KY 40207
  • Walgreens, 12101 Shelbyville Road Middletown, KY 40243 Open 24-hours
  • Walgreens, 2021 Hikes Lane Louisville, KY 40218 Open 24-hours
  • Walgreens, 5201 S. Third Street Louisville, KY 40241 Open 24-hours

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