FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Drug Enforcement Agents warned residents of narcotic trends spiking across the nation at this morning's Opioid Summit.
Sarah Dubowski attended the convention and files this report.
Diversion Program Manager for the DEA, Ricardo Quintero, didn't waste any time talking around the issue - new, easily accessible and sometimes more powerful drugs are showing up in the hands of users in Alaska.
Quintero listed off the trending narcotics to watch out for.
Flakka or Bath Salts: a synthetic, cheap substitute for methamphetamines that can make users hallucinate and stay up for days.
Fentanyl: a synthetic opioid 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin. Drug pushers are selling it as heroin causing overdoses due to its potency.
Carfentanil: a opioid used to sedate elephants, that is 10-thousands times stronger than morphine and is being mixed with other opioids to add strength. Even just a few grains of the drug touched to the skin can cause a regular person to OD.
U47700: Also known as 'Pink' is a synthetic opioid designer drug imported in from underground labs in china.
And Tramadol: a pain reliever also prescribed by vets for cats and dogs has made a surge in Alaska.
Quintero talked about drug addicts intentionally hurting animals to get their hands on the medication.
Ricardo Quintero; DEA Diversion Program Manager>>"Veterinarians can prescribe tramadol for pain of the animal. A lot of time diverters use animals as an excuse to obtain tramadol by fraud and deceit through the veterinarians. So in short, they will take their animals to the vet, claim that the animal is injured and the vet will prescribe tramadol."
The DEA Tactical Diversion Squad leader, Thomas Olsen, says tramadol is also being shipped in from foreign underground labs - and it's making its way into the state by the hundreds of thousands of pills.
He says because this drug is not regulated statewide it ties the hands of law enforcement.
Thomas Olsen; DEA Tactical Diversion Squad Leader>>"Tramadol is going out to the outer villages and it's causing a lot of harm, especially when it's mixed with alcohol. Tramadol is currently a scheduled four narcotic; it is not currently scheduled in the state of Alaska. We need to battle the opioid epidemic from all angles, it can't just be from the federal side, it has to be from the state, it has to be from the local side."
Olson urges residents to contact lawmakers asking them to pass legislation on scheduling tramadol.
Sarah Dubowski reporting,