Police warn of new, dangerous drug in Mid-Michigan - WNEM TV 5

Police warn of new, dangerous drug in Mid-Michigan

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
SAGINAW COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

A new kind of drug has come to Mid-Michigan.

Police say it is one of the most dangerous drugs they have ever seen.

The drugs are so new police said they don't even have a name yet. For now, they are called "synthetic opioids."

The drugs are so dangerous police are being forced to change the way they operate.

"The new stuff has the potential to be very dangerous," said Tyler Torbet, forensic scientist with the Michigan State Police Crime Lab in Bridgeport.

He said new, more potent synthetic drugs from Asia have made their way to the streets of Mid-Michigan. Torbet said the drugs are so new there is no way of knowing how lethal they can be.

"None of them have set names because there's not a lot of research and because the street users most likely don't know what they have," Torbet said.

In many cases, the result is death from another overdose of a mix of synthetic drugs and opioids.

"There's cases now that whether it's fentanyl or some of these other synthetics, I've heard of more than five doses of Narcan being used. And sometimes they're able to revive them, other times not," Torbet said.

Torbet said the new cocktail of drugs has become volatile and unpredictable. The risk is so high that safety procedures for lab researchers like Torbet have changed over the last year.

"We are always wearing a lab coat. We're always wearing gloves. We're working on these substances in our fume hoods so there's no airborne exposure. In addition to working under the fume hoods, we're also wearing a dust mask just in case any of these powders escape the hoods," Torbet said.

Torbet said breathing in just a small amount of these drugs, or even touching them without protection, could send you to an early grave.

Despite the dangers of the job, Torbet said there's no place he would rather be.

"You don't know what you're taking. So an overdose is always one hit of heroin or whatever you think you have, it's one hit away," Torbet said.

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