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DEA Warning About Devastating Effects of Bootleg Form of Fentanyl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- There's a new warning from the DEA about a bootleg form of fentanyl that is made overseas.

It's now showing up around the country and in Western Pennsylvania. There are no indications this new fentanyl is in our area yet but the Philadelphia Health Department says it's possible that we could see it here soon based on the regional nature of how the drugs are distributed.

It's called acryl fentanyl, another form of the drug that's 100 times more powerful than morphine.

"If acryl fentanyl is introduced into the population, it can have devastating effects," said David Battiste, DEA Special Agent.

The DEA says acryl fentanyl is sold mainly on the dark web and is being manufactured overseas, then smuggled into the U.S.

"We suspect China as one of the manufacturers, Canada, Mexico and the like," said Battiste.

Unlike fentanyl and carfentanil, which have legitimate medical purposes for humans and animals respectively, acryl fentanyl does not.

"This one has no medical use at all. At all. So it's here illegally," said Battiste.

Experts say it's a type of fentanyl that could be resistant to Narcan.

"It's something paramedics are going to have to be prepared to deal with that this treatment might not work," said resident Bradley Johnson.

"To find out that something like that is in the community and people won't know what it is, It think that's the problem. They think it's something and it's not what they think it is," said Mark Hoyer of Youngwood.

Acryl fentanyl comes in powder form. It looks so similar to regular fentanyl and heroin.

"These are dangerous drugs. They're cut by these dealers who don't care about anything other than making a profit. It can be cut with anything," said Battiste.

Health officials say regular fentanyl, often mixed with heroin, has been especially deadly in our area recently.

Deaths from it in Montgomery County have tripled, over in Ocean County, New Jersey fentanyl-related deaths are up 75 percent.

Adding to the problem, the heroin in Philadelphia is especially pure and deadly.

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