Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office confirms first carfentanil death in Wisconsin

Drug is 10,000 times more potent than morphine
Posted at 9:10 AM, Apr 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-17 19:12:24-04
The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office has confirmed the first carfentanil death in Wisconsin on its Twitter page Monday morning. 
According to the Medical Examiner's Office, James Kinnee, 48, was found dead in an apartment near Teutonia and Villard Avenue on March 22. 
It wasn't until toxicology reports came back this week that confirmed he had carfentanil in his system when he died. 
"It's here in Milwaukee County," said Sara Schreiber, forensic technical director at the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office. "And if it's here in Milwaukee County, it's likely in other places in the state of Wisconsin or will be very soon." 
According to a report from the ME, Kinnee had only been living at the apartment for two days. The man who rents the apartment hired Kinnee to work a side job in construction. 
Kinnee reportedly didn't have anywhere to live, so the man who hired him allowed Kinnee to stay at his apartment temporarily. 
On March 22, the man tried to wake Kinnee up for work but he didn't wake up. The man left for work and when he returned home, Kinnee still had not woken up. That's when 911 was called. 
A police detective found a broken crack pipe in the apartment but there were no other signs of drug paraphernalia at the scene, and no indication that carfentanil was involved. 
Police are still investigating where the drug originated from.
Authorities say the drug is often disguised as heroin, so many users may not even know they're ingesting it.
"Anytime you buy that stuff off the street, you don't know what you're getting, there's no quality control there," said Schreiber.  
According to the DEA’s website, carfentanil is a synthetic opioid that is 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl, which itself is 50 times more potent than heroin. 
Carfentanil is a Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substances Act and is used as a tranquilizing agent for elephants and other large mammals. 
The DEA says Carfentanil and other fentanyl-related compounds are a serious danger to public safety, first responder, medical, treatment, and laboratory personnel.  The substances can come in several forms including:
  • Powder
  • Blotter paper
  • Tablets
  • Spray 
If encountered, responding personnel should do the following based on the specific situation:
  • Exercise extreme caution.
  • Be aware of any sign of exposure
  • Seek IMMEDIATE medical attention
  • Be ready to administer naloxone in the event of exposure
  • Remember that carfentanil can resemble powdered cocaine or heroin
For more information on this deadly drug, visit the DEA’s website.
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