Coroner: Animal tranquilizer found in Butler County overdoses

Agencies tasked with reducing the number of overdose deaths just received more alarming news: For the first time, two Butler County deaths were caused by heroin cut with carfentanil, a synthetic that provides drug users a stronger, longer high, Butler County Coroner Lisa Mannix told the Journal-News.

Carfentanil, a tranquilizer used for larger animals like elephants, is 10,000 times stronger than morphine, Mannix said.

Carfentanil made national news after Hamilton County health officials reported an “unprecedented” 174 overdoses during a six-day period in Cincinnati this summer.

While Butler County has been spared those number of overdoses, it saw a spike in July, the coroner’s office said. There were 22 overdoses that month, and 17 were heroin/fentanyl related, the coroner’s office reported.

When Mannix heard about the number of overdoses in Hamilton County blamed on carfentanil, she knew it would soon hit Butler County.

“There was no reason to believe the dealers wouldn’t cross county lines,” said Mannix, who said carfentanil is a cousin of the less potent, but still dangerous opioid fentanyl.

About the Author