Tennessee agencies warn of "alarming rise" in fentanyl and newest worry carfentanil


    The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP), and Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) issued a joint statement on the "alarming rise" of fentanyl and heroin entering Tennessee. PHOTO: WZTV FOX 17 Nashville

    The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee Highway Patrol, and Tennessee Department of Health issued a joint statement Thursday on the "alarming rise" of fentanyl and heroin entering Tennessee.

    TBI Director Mark Gwyn noted the sharp increase in heroin and fentanyl submissions to the TBI lab for testing, each marking five year highs. More troubling are the submissions of carfentanil for testing. Whereas fentanyl is 50-100 times stronger than morphine, carfentanil is 100 times stronger than fentanyl.

    "If it sounds like we are sounding the alarm, we are," Gwyn said.

    Gwyn says in the last few weeks alone, the TBI lab has received ten exhibits of carfentanil for testing. Last year, there were zero requests for testing.

    The TBI says fentanyl is being used by criminals to create counterfeit versions of well-known opioid and benzodiazepine pills such as Percocet, Xanax, Oxycodone and others. Fentanyl is also being mixed with other drugs such as heroin or marijuana and, in some cases, criminals are even counterfeiting illegal heroin with fentanyl and fentanyl derivatives.

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