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Drug 100 Times More Powerful Than Heroin Responsible for Multiple Deaths in Md.

BALTIMORE (WJZ)-- A new drug, 100 times more powerful than heroin, is finding its way onto Maryland streets.

It's to blame for several deaths in Anne Arundel County in recent weeks.

RELATED: Officials: Carfentanil Blamed for 4th Death in Maryland

Fentanyl has been on the radar for quite some time but now carfentanyl is the latest threat killing people in Maryland.

It's the newest deadly drug that's popping up in Maryland autopsies.

"It's very strong, it's used as an elephant tranquilizer. So it is very potent, very deadly," said Lt. Ryan Frashure of the Anne Arundel County Police.

Carfentanyl is a synthetic opioid 100 times more potent than heroin. A minuscule amount even absorbed through the skin could be deadly.

Anne Arundel County police say three people died from carfentanyl overdoses in April alone.

"The only three positive tests we've had so far have come from the medical examiner, so that really shows you how deadly this stuff is," Frashure said.

About 500 people died from drug overdoses last year in Baltimore City but this is a statewide epidemic that's only getting worse.

"Overdose deaths have grown in Baltimore City and in Maryland. It is a public health emergency," said Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore City Health Commissioner.

Governor Larry Hogan pressed the issue on Facebook in a post this week, pointing addicts towards state resources for recovery.

An overdose survivor described his sudden blackout in an interview with CBS News.

"I believe it was carfentanyl, and I know. I've been doing dope and done fentanyl and it wasn't the same," the man said.

It's a powerful drug that may be more like a death sentence.

Anne Arundel County Police say addicts buying heroin in the county right now could unknowingly be buying it laced with carfentanyl.

Police are still investigating the source of the drugs.

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