A drug 100 times stronger than the one that killed Prince just hit the streets -- here's everything you need to know

Erowid CenterAmpule of fentanyl in solution

Fentanyl, the opioid painkiller that killed Prince and is 50 times stronger than morphine, pales in comparison to a new drug called carfentanil.

Carfentanil is a drug so strong that it’s used to sedate elephants. It’s 100 times as potent as fentanyl, which makes it roughly 10,000 times stronger than morphine.

And now it’s showing up on the street.

Last week, a 36-year-old Ohio man suspected of selling carfentanil as heroin was indicted in connection with a death on July 10, the Associated Press reported.

But carfentanil is just one part of the far bigger issue of painkiller use and abuse.

Read on to find out where the deadly drug is likely being made, what it looks like, and what it does:

Fentanyl, which is also available in a patch or liquid, is 80 to 100 times more powerful than morphine and about 40 to 50 times more potent than 100% pure heroin.

Erowid Center
Ampule of fentanyl in solution

Source: Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

Since 1999, overdose deaths involving opioid painkillers have quadrupled. In 2014 alone, more than 14,000 people died from overdoses involving the drugs.

Yet it's Wildnil -- otherwise called carfentanil -- and not sufentanil, that authorities say is now showing up on the streets. As of last week, carfentanil was suspected in several overdosing spates across the US, where it's allegedly being sold as heroin.

Cases involving alleged carfentanil have sprouted up in cities in Kentucky, Ohio, and Florida.

But authorities still don't know where the drug is originating. People may be smuggling it in from abroad or made in US labs. DEA agents say the drug hasn't popped up in their tests recently, but it is being sold online by several companies in China.

Carfentanil is deadly, especially when obtained on the street where there's no way to know exactly what's inside. As an opioid painkiller, the drug slows down breathing and the functions of the central nervous system. 'They know that's the high that'll take you right up to the edge, maybe kill you, maybe not,' Joseph Pinjuh, chief of the Organised Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and narcotics unit for the US attorney in Cleveland, told AP.

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