The rise of synthetic opioid deaths in Georgia has prompted the GBI to issue a public safety alert.
In the first four months of this year, 17 people died in Georgia after taking two types of manufactured drugs now banned. That was the same number of deaths in all of 2016.
The Georgia General Assembly recently outlawed U-47700 and furanyl fentanyl, and Gov. Nathan Deal signed the law and enacted the restrictions April 17.
Those Schedule I drugs, which are distributed in powder and tablet form and are taken in a similar manner as heroin, are extremely toxic, according to a GBI statement.
“Because furanyl fentanyl and U-47700 are lethal at very low doses, law enforcement and the public should use caution when handling these drugs,” it said.
After a narcotics seizure in metro Atlanta, 8 kilograms of a mixture of the two drugs were found to be so dangerous and complex that the GBI issued a statewide officer safety alert.
Personal protective equipment such as gloves and masks should be used, as the toxic drugs can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
U-47700 and feruanyl fentanyl may cause shallow breathing, pinpoint pupils, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, lethargy, cold or clammy skin, loss of consciousness, and heart failure.
If an overdose is expected, multiple doses of naloxone may be necessary to revive the patient.
The GBI crime lab already has reviewed about 50 drug cases involving the deadly U-47700 and furanyl fentanyl, which have no currently accepted medical treatment.