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Elephant Tranquillizer Found in 2 Central Illinois Overdoses

April 23, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – A central Illinois county coroner has found a tranquillizer used on elephants and other large animals in the blood of two recent drug-overdose victims.

The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports that the drug is carfentanil. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration says it is 10,000 times more potent than morphine.

Sangamon County Coroner Cinda Edwards says toxicology tests from a 63-year-old man who died in March and a 34-year-old man who died this month showed a mix of carfentanil and heroin.

That makes 18 opiate overdose deaths this year in the Springfield area. Twenty-three died last year and 41 in 2015.

Edwards says the number dropped in part because more emergency responders carry Narcan, which can reverse the effect of an overdose.

She says Narcan is likely ineffective against carfentanil.

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