'America's deadliest drug' found on streets of Houston

HOUSTON – What has been dubbed "America's deadliest drug" has been found on the streets of Houston, according to city leaders.

Officials said Tuesday that officers recently found 80 grams of a substance that they thought was methamphetamine and sent it to a lab for testing. Those tests revealed that the substance that was found was actually a powerful opioid called carfentanil. 

Typically used to sedate elephants, carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than fentanyl and 10,000 times more potent than morphine. It was first manufactured in the 1970s.

READ: Opioids: From wonder drug to abuse epidemic

Doctors said that the tranquilizer dangerously lowers a person’s heart and breathing rates.

In its powdered form, carfentanil looks similar to table salt. Officials said ingesting a single grain of the drug can be fatal.

VIDEO: Houston officials discuss opioid dangers

Authorities said drug dealers are using the drug to cut their supply of opioids, like heroin, because it is cheaper. They said it has also been added to counterfeit pain medication by traffickers.


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