As State and Federal authorities crack down on opioid abuse, many Marylanders are turning to elephant tranquilizers instead.

Carfentanil is a synthetic opioid that is manufactured as an elephant tranquilizer. It is hundreds of times more potent than heroin. To put it in perspective, just one salt of carfentanil is enough to kill a human being. With the crackdown on fentanyl in full swing, opioid addicts are having to get creative. After three Marylanders died from carfentanil overdoses in recent days, including two cases in Anne Arundel County, Maryland Public Health Services is now issuing a statewide warning. “The risk in using these drugs cannot be overstated,” MPHS Deputy Secretary Howard Haft said in a statement. He also urged anyone addicted to opioids to seek resources at or call 1-800-422-0009 to reach Maryland's 24/7 crisis hotline.

This all comes on the heels of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan formally declaring a state of emergency to combat Maryland's growing opioid epidemic. The State of Emergency declaration affords the governor's office with additional law enforcement resources and helps them cut through red tape to address the issue faster. By September of 2016, Maryland had already surpassed the 2015 total for opioid overdoses. Health officials are still tabulating the number of 2016 overdose deaths in Maryland but the tally is expected to far surpass the state's 2015 totals. Last fall, the United States Drug Enforcement Agency formally issued a warning about elephant tranquilizer abuse. The DEA estimates that carfentanil is more than 10,000 times deadlier than morphine and more than 100 times deadlier than fentanyl. Officials at the DEA warn that as the agency cracks down on heroin and prescription opioid abuse, addicts will turn to other, less traditional drugs. What's even more dangerous is the fact that dealers have been seen disguising carfentanil as heroin and selling it on the street. "It's crazy dangerous," DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg concluded. What do you think about this? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Did you know that the Maryland Legislature missed the deadline by just seconds to reform the state's medical marijuana laws?