Via the Journal Sentinel: Carfentanil, 10,000 times more potent than morphine, kills homeless man in Milwaukee. Excerpt:
Carfentanil, a large-animal tranquilizer 10,000 times more potent than morphine, has been discovered in the system of a homeless man who died in Milwaukee last month, the Milwaukee County medical examiner's office said Monday.
"We believe it is the first carfentanil death in the entire state," said the office's operations manager, Karen Domagalski.
Carfentanil is an opioid in the same class as oxycodone, but it is 100 times more potent than fentanyl, which itself is 50 times more potent than heroin.
"It is crazy dangerous," Chuck Rosenberg, the acting administrator of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, said last year when issuing a special warning to emergency medical workers.
"We see it on the streets, often disguised as heroin," he said. "I hope our first responders — and the public — will read and heed our health and safety warning."
What constitutes a lethal dose of carfentanil for humans is unknown, DEA spokesman Ross Baer said. A lethal dose of fentanyl is the size as a few grains of table salt, he said.
"A lethal dose of carfentanil is not visible to the human eye."
The development of a death tied to carfentanil comes as drug overdose deaths are soaring.
In Milwaukee County, a record 299 people died from drug overdoses in 2016, outstripping the 255 total deaths in 2015, which was itself a record. That number could grow while other suspected drug-related deaths await toxicology results.
Of the 299 confirmed drug-related deaths, about 45% — 132 — involved heroin. The number of deaths involving the potent painkiller fentanyl reached 80 — nearly tripling the number of cases from 2015.
Found dead in bedroom
According to a medical examiner's report:
James W. Kinnee, 48, was found dead March 22 in a bedroom in the 5000 block of N. Teutonia Ave.
Kinnee, hired to do some roofing work in Milwaukee, and been living at the address with a female friend for only a few days.
A co-worker, noticing that Kinnee appeared to have no home, had allowed Kinnee and the woman to stay with him.
The co-worker, unable to wake Kinnee on March 22, went to work. When he returned, Kinnee was still in bed. When the co-worker called 911, the woman fled.
A family member told investigators that Kinnee was an alcoholic who had been in and out of various Milwaukee-area treatment shelters.