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Akron Police Say Local Elephant Tranquilizer Overdoses Are Unrelated to Columbus Indictment

photo of heroin and syringe

Local police are still investigating the source of a dangerous chemical added to street drugs even after a Franklin county man was indicted Monday for selling carfentanil-laced heroin.

Carfentanil is 10,000 times stronger than morphine and is used as a tranquilizer for elephants and rhinos.

Police do not believe the Columbus man is behind a series of overdoses that occurred earlier this month in Akron.  

However, police spokesman Lieutenant Rick Edwards says carfentanil is part of a deadly spike in overdose deaths in Akron.

“We’re seeing a huge spike in our overdoses. As of midnight last night, from July 5th to July 25th at midnight, we have already experienced 236 overdoses within the city of Akron alone. Of those 236, we have 20 reported deaths."

He says that out of the 20 overdose deaths in Akron this month, some of the first toxicology reports show evidence of carfentinil.

The remaining reports will take 8 to 12 weeks to complete.  

Edwards believes the drug is being purchased online and imported from China.