Overdoses in Beaver County linked to use of elephant sedative

Written by The Associated Press | Jan 17, 2017 3:16 AM

FILE PHOTo: This June 2016 photo shows printer ink bottles containing carfentanil imported from China. (Royal Canadian Mounted Police via AP)

(Beaver) -- Authorities in Beaver County are blaming two overdose deaths within the past few months on the victims' abuse of an opioid-based sedative for elephants and other large animals.

County coroner David Gabauer says the deaths, which occurred in Beaver Falls in late November and New Brighton in mid-December, are the first in Pennsylvania to be linked to carfentanil.

Carfentanil is considered 100 times more powerful than fentanyl and 10,000 times stronger than morphine.

Gabauer declined to provide information about the victims, citing the ongoing investigation being conducted by the State Police and the Beaver County District Attorney's office.

The number of overdose deaths linked to carfentanil began raising concerns across the country last year, when the federal Drug Enforcement Administration issued a warning about the potent drug.

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