LUZERNE COUNTY--- The Luzerne County District Attorney is warning first responders, police and others to be on the lookout for a powerful new drug, Carfentanil.
“We are seeing so many different types of drugs being brought into our communities. Drugs that are so lethal one use of it could kill someone so it is truly an epidemic right now,” said D.A. Stefanie Salavantis.
"If they see signs that this may potentially be this drug, or an overdose from this drug, they need to use extra precaution. It is just a matter of time that it will make its way across the state and be in Luzerne County,” she added.
Carfentanil is ten-thousand times more powerful than morphine or pure heroin, a hundred times more potent than fentanyl. It is used to tranquilize large animals like elephants and hippos.
The drug has led to deaths in Western Pennsylvania and could soon be in Northeastern Pennsylvania, if it isn’t already.
What makes it even more dangerous is the fact that this drug can be absorbed through the skin.That puts medics, fire crews, police, anyone who tries to help an overdose victim in danger.
"We're exposed to those powders and things all the time. I mean we generally wear gloves every time we go to an overdose just because of the crime scene processings. Sure, it's a scary thing,” sad Kingston Detective Edward Palka.
Detective Palka has been working in the narcotics unit in Kingston since 2005. His concern is drug users taking Carfentanil without even knowing it.
“The heroin addicts that are in this area don't know that it's going to be mixed with their heroin and it would be more something the dealers would be doing, unbeknownst to the heroin user."
Some people say no matter how dangerous the drug, there's always going to be someone willing to try it.
“Like the instance with the bath salts and it was still popular. Everybody knew it was dangerous,” said Eugene Johnson of Wilkes-Barre.
"You definitely have people who take risks all the time and they'll be like 'Oh, only once,’” said Nikolai Stefanov of Wilkes-Barre.