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What is Carfentanil: The Synthetic Opioid 10,000 Times Stronger Than Morphine

By |November 15th, 2018|

The latest available data show a decline in opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts from 2016–2017. That’s reason to be optimistic. If this trend continues, the state could make serious strides to reduce the severe effects of the opioid crisis. But there’s also reason to worry. While toxicology analyses indicate a decline in the presence of heroin in opioid-related overdose deaths, fentanyl is on the rise. Even scarier is the emergence of a substance related to, and more potent than, fentanyl: carfentanil. So what is carfentanil?

Carfentanil is a Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substances Act (which includes substances like cocaine, opium, and oxycodone) and is used as an elephant tranquilizer. It’s a synthetic opioid much more powerful than fentanyl. Fentanyl is estimated to be 25–50 times stronger than heroin and 50–100 times stronger than morphine. About 2–3 milligrams of fentanyl can be lethal. That’s roughly the size of 5–7 grains of salt. (See image above.)

Image via DEA

Carfentanil, however, is estimated to be 100 times stronger than fentanyl, or 10,000 times stronger than morphine. As little as .00002 grams can kill a person.

Let that sink in a moment.

According to the Center for Disease Control, carfentanil deaths nearly doubled from 421 in the last half of 2016 to 815 in the first half of 2017. Like fentanyl, which turned up in 89% of toxicology reports among overdose victims in Massachusetts this year, other illicit substances can be laced with carfentanil. For example, a Cincinnati man plead guilty to attempting to murder a witness by selling him heroin cut with carfentanil; in Indianapolis, supposed prescription pills were found to be counterfeit, some of which contained carfentanil.

The arrival of carfentanil in the commonwealth was confirmed by Massachusetts State Police in 2017. At the time, State Police were unaware of any overdose deaths connected with carfentanil. Since then, “The state’s drug lab has detected carfentanil in at least 40 samples of heroin and other opioids seized during arrests” and “as detected in autopsies in at least four overdose cases last year,” as reported in April 2018. The manufacture, possession, and distribution of carfentanil has been explicitly outlawed by the state legislature.

Overdose deaths caused by carfentanil have also been reported in New Hampshire.

On the other side of the continent, harm reduction methods are in development. Scientists in Vancouver, British Columbia have created a paper testing strip that recognizes the presence of fentanyl or carfentanil in a given substance. The hope is this will lead scientists to build “a compact mass spectrometer the size of a small microwave, that could be used in overdose prevention sites, in community health centres [sic] and by mobile harm reduction teams.”

Vancouver, hit extremely hard by the opioid crisis is an international leader in combating it, from offering extreme users clean prescription heroin to the formation of safe injection sites—the idea being you can’t provide treatment people for substance use if they aren’t alive to receive it.

Increased access to naloxone (aka Narcan) has helped reduce opioid-related overdose deaths nationwide. With fentanyl and carfentanil, though, it’s unclear how effective naloxone is. Naloxone reverses the symptoms of overdose in a matter minutes and has been credited with combating overdose deaths. Because of the sheer potency of carfentanil, scientists have seen a resistance to standard doses naloxone, such as an injection or nasal spray, though data remains inconclusive.

The Gándara Center is committed to empowering everyone to learn about naloxone and how to use it. We partnered up with Tapestry Health to hold two Spanish-speaking Narcan training sessions, in Holyoke and Springfield, to provide information and free dosages of Narcan to at-risk populations.

We will continue to work with Tapestry to host more training sessions in the future, and get Narcan in the hands of as many people as possible.

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View Our February Newsletter Online!

By |February 11th, 2020|

Gándara Center’s February newsletter is now online. You can read about Lois Nesci being appointed our chief executive officer. She was most recently Chief Operating Officer at the Center of Human Development in Springfield.

You can also read about Gándara employees collecting emergency supplies in a statewide relief drive and bringing them to earthquake-torn Puerto Rico last month (including more than 20 photos of the trip. There was plenty of media coverage of this humanitarian mission—both television and print—including Liz Román’s fantastic story in Masslive.

In addition, Western Mass News interviewed Clinical Supervisor Alisha Khoury-Boucher about “gray death” heroin, a type of heroin reported in Louisiana containing fentanyl and carfentanil, which is 100 times more powerful than fentanyl.

Save the date: our 6th Annual Frozen Yogurt 5K is Sunday, August 23, in downtown Northampton.

Want to read about the sponsorship levels for Gándara Center’s Aventura! Summer Camp Scholarship? Check it out!

Our newsletter can be found here.

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Gándara Blog

By |June 17th, 2018|

Donor Profile: Matt Bannister, First Vice President for Marketing and Corporate Responsibility at PeoplesBank

We Need Runners/Walkers and Sponsors for Our 2020 Gándara Center Frozen Yogurt Virtual 5K August 16-23

Responding to Racism: Gándara Center’s Commitment to Our Mission

Our Intimate Partner Abuse Education Program Goes Virtual as Domestic Violence Rises During Pandemic Lockdown

Coronavirus Resources: Useful Links

Gándara in the Media: COVID-19 Impact

Gándara Center Seeks Donations in Response to Coronavirus Crisis

Vaping Can Increase the Risk of Developing Coronavirus—and Make the Infection Worse for Those Who Contract It

Minorities are Particularly Vulnerable to Not Only Coronavirus, But Also the Mental Health Problems the Crisis Brings with It

Gándara in the Media: Coronavirus Imapct

COVID-19 Response – Gándara Center’s Essential Services Continue in Time of Need; Telehealth Services are Now Available!

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response

Problem Gambling Photovoice Exhibition to Take Place on March 12 [EVENT POSTPONED]

Opioid Overdose Deaths Decreased Statewide, But Increased in Western Mass—Especially in Hispanic Communities

Quit Vaping, Smoking or Other Tobacco Products to Celebrate American Heart Month

View Our February Newsletter Online!

Gándara Center Staff Bring Supplies to Earthquake-Torn Puerto Rico

Lois Nesci Named CEO of Gándara Center

Backpack Survival Kits are Needed for Earthquake Victims in Puerto Rico

View our January Newsletter Online!

Gándara Center’s Emergency Help Drive for Puerto Rico is Now a Statewide Effort

Gándara Youth Exhibit Celebrates Young Artists and Performers

View our December Newsletter Online!

Stop Access Springfield Coalition Town Hall Event on December 11 to Warn of Substance Use Dangers

Don’t Miss ArtSong, Our 6th Annual Gándara Youth Art Exhibit Reception, on December 12

#GivingTuesday: On December 3, Help Support the People We Serve

Help is Available for Youth with Serious Emotional or Behavioral Health Needs

Gándara Center Launches Community Care Package Drive

State Awards Funds for Gándara Center Recovery Program in Plymouth: Program Moving to Larger Facility

View Our November Newsletter Online!

Gándara Center’s Stop Access Springfield Coalition Awarded $125,000 Federal Grant to Fight Substance Use

Gándara Center Urges Passage of Two Anti-Vaping Bills

Be a Hero: Become a Sponsor in our Aventura! Summer Camp Scholarship Program

View Our October Newsletter Online

ADHD Awareness Month: Know the Difference Between Myths and Facts

Staff Snapshot: Aundra Gillyourd, Peer Support Specialist/Recovery Coach

Gándara Center, Tapestry, and Hampden County Addiction Taskforce Partner for Free Community Narcan Trainings

Heather Murphy Receives Field Instructor Award

New Genoa Healthcare Pharmacy Opens at Gándara Center Outpatient Clinic

View Our September Newsletter Online

September is National Recovery Month: Join the Voices for Recovery!

Suicide Prevention: a Shared Responsibility

Frozen Yogurt 5K Raises More Than $25,000

We Need Volunteers for Our Frozen Yogurt 5K on August 25!

View Our August Newsletter Online!

We’re Marching in the Springfield Puerto Rican Parade on September 15

11 Gándara Center Employees Mark Milestones in August

Donor Profile: Bill Trudeau, President and CEO of Insurance Center of New England

We’re Having a Job Fair at the Holyoke Mall on August 3

Gándara Center: a History

An Exciting Opportunity: The Gándara Center Hiring Bonus Program

Check Out Our July Newsletter Online!

We Need Runners/Walkers, Sponsors, and Volunteers for Our Frozen Yogurt 5K on August 25 in Northampton!

Hope for Holyoke Presenters Discuss Compulsive Gambling at Symposium

Read our June Newsletter Online!

#GandaraAtWork Episode 11: Lara Quiles, Supervisor, CSP/RSN Programs

A Dozen Gándara Center Employees Celebrate Important Work Anniversaries in June

Attention Shoppers: Gándara Center Chosen as a Big Y Community Bag Program Beneficiary for June

Gándara to Open Peer Recovery Support Center in Springfield

Henry’s Next Aventura! Event Raises $3,528 for Kids and Teens Summer Camp Scholarship

Fundraiser Benefits Gándara’s Esperanza Women’s Transitional Support Services

#GandaraAtWork Episode 10: Eddie Rodriguez, Recovery Coach Supervisor

Nine Gándara Center Employees Mark Milestones in May

Gándara Center’s NOEL Program Conducts Community Educational Session on Breast Cancer Prevention and Screening

Read Our May Newsletter Online!

National Foster Care Month: Celebrating the Heroes Who Make a Difference in the Lives of Children in Need

We Need Volunteers for Our Frozen Yogurt 5K on August 25!

New Program: Avanzando! Enhanced Residential Rehabilitation Services Treats Women Who are Experiencing Co-Occurring Disorders

#GandaraAtWork Episode 9: Lianette Rivera, In-Home Behavioral Services Director

#GandaraAtWork Episode 8: Abrah Orth, Director of Family Support and Training

Read our April Newsletter Online!

Problem Gambling Prevention: the Ambassador Project

Hope for Holyoke Recovery Center Members and Staff Respond to an Overdose and Save a Life with Narcan

#GandaraAtWork Episode 7: Sara, In-Home Therapy Supervisor

Community Chat at Springfield Family Resource Center Focuses on Safety and Quality-of-Life Issues

Staff Snapshot: Lea Rojas Otero, Outpatient Clinic Counselor in Brockton

#GandaraAtWork Episode 6: Edgardo and Natalie, Health & Wellness at the Outpatient Clinic

Read Our March Newsletter Online!

National Employee Appreciation Day: Congratulations to All of Our Gift Card Winners!

#GandaraAtWork Episode 5: Mark Huntington, Director of Training

Springfield Residents: Applications Now Available for the Gándara Center Aventura! Summer Camp Scholarship

The Champion Plan in Brockton Joins National Police-Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative

#GandaraAtWork Episode 4: Rahiza, Chelsea, and Audra of our Outpatient Clinic

#GandaraAtWork Episode 3: Lavagn Claudio, Senior Family Partner

#GandaraAtWork Episode 2: Kristen Owens, Quality Assurance Specialist

#GandaraAtWork Episode 1: Dianna Rodriguez, HR Receptionist

Meet Jayson Sanchez, Gándara Center’s New Recruitment Marketing and Sourcing Specialist

Stop Access Springfield Coalition Coordinator Malikah Jeffries Attends Community Anti-Drug Conference in Washington, DC

Future Gándara Center Shelter in Springfield Receives Funding from State Youth Homelessness Initiative

Why We Run: To Boost Mental Health, Raise Awareness, & Combat Stigmas

Read the Gándara Center 2018 Annual Report Online!

Twelve Graduate from Gándara Center Recovery Coach Training Program in Brockton

Mini-Conference Takes Aim at a Sharp Spike in Youth Vaping

Gándara Center Employees Mark Milestones in January

Be a Hero to a Deserving Child: Sponsor a Camper in Our Aventura! Summer Camp Scholarship Program

Read Our January Newsletter Online!

Employees and Families Enjoy 6-2 Home Hockey Victory at Gándara Center Family Night at the Springfield Thunderbirds

Gándara in the Media: Sara Moriarty, Director of the Hampden County Tobacco Free Community Partnership

Save the Date: Our 5th Annual Frozen Yogurt 5K is on August 25

De-escalation & Crisis Management Training: How to Defuse the Situation

El Sitio Web de Gándara en Español—Gándara Website in Spanish

4 New Years Resolution Ideas to Improve Your Mental Health [Infographic]

Co-Occurring Mental Health & Substance Use Disorders, and Patriots WR Josh Gordon

3 Reasons You Should Donate to Aventura!, our Western Mass Summer Camp Program [Infographic]

Read Our December Newsletter Online!

End-of-Year Giving: Help Us Send Kids and Teens from Low-income Springfield Families to Summer Camp

Community Responds to Blood Drive/Job Fair on December 11

Not Just Winter Blues: What is Seasonal Affective Disorder & What Are the Treatments?

Largest Turnout Ever for Gándara Center Holiday Party

Gándara Center Executive Director to Retire: Henry East-Trou a Longtime Advocate for the Underserved

The Massachusetts Good Samaritan Law: Protection for Overdose Victims & Witnesses

Read Our November Newsletter Online!

Opioid Overdose Deaths Among Black Males, Fentanyl Use Increase [Report]

Well-Attended Community Narcan Trainings a Success

What is Carfentanil: The Synthetic Opioid 10,000 Times Stronger Than Morphine

The Valley Gives on Giving Tuesday: On Nov. 27 Help Us Send Kids to Summer Camp

Blood Drive/Job Fair on December 11 in Holyoke: Give Life—and Learn About Our Career Opportunities

Community Narcan Trainings to be Offered in Spanish Nov. 7 and 13: SPREAD THE WORD!

4 Questions for a Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Trans & Queer Specialist [Q&A]

Federal Policy & Massachusetts Ballot Question 3 Could Negatively Affect the At-Risk LGBTQI+ Community

4 Tips for Enjoying Halloween Sober [Infographic]

What Is Narcan, How Do I Use It, and Where Can I Get It?

Gándara Center Partners with Tapestry to Provide Community Narcan Trainings

Read Our October Newsletter Online!

ADHD Awareness Month: Dispelling the Myths

Sponsors Sought for Aventura! Summer Camp Scholarship

Donation Provides Impact Center with Backpacks and Supplies

Springfield Family Resource Center Honored by Governor for Hurricane Relief

Regarding a Local News Story on Child Exploitation [Statement]

4 Reasons to Start Your Career with Gándara [We’re Hiring!]

Gándara’s Gustafson and Garfi Join the Decade(s) Club

Aventura! Summer Camp Scholarship: Making Memories for Springfield Youth

View Photos and Video of the Springfield Puerto Rican Parade and Hope for Holyoke’s Float

Sights and Stories From the Recovery Day Rally Celebration in Boston

Read Our September Newsletter Online!

Suicide Prevention: a Shared Responsibility

4 Reasons to Apply for Gándara’s Recruitment Marketing & Sourcing Specialist Job

Become a Foster Parent and Open Your Heart to a Child in Need

Jeremiah’s Journey to Recovery: “The Hairston House Saved My Life”

Frozen Yogurt 5K Raises Over $20,000 to Build Playground

September is National Recovery Month: Join the Celebration!

Health Benefits of Play: Why We’re Building a Playground at Our Group Home for Children

Read Our August Newsletter Online!

Synthetic Substances: What is K2 & Why is it Dangerous?

Gándara in the News: The K2 Mass Overdose in New Haven

Overdose Death Data Show Spike in Fentanyl Use in Massachusetts & Nationwide [Report]

Transgender Governor Candidate Helps Focus Attention on LGBTQI+ Substance Use & Mental Health

Help is Available for Youth with Serious Emotional or Behavioral Health Needs—and Their Families

Minorities in These Jobs are More Likely to Suffer Opioid Overdose Deaths [Report]

In Capuano vs. Pressley Debate, Missed Opportunity to Talk Opioid Crisis & Mental Health

Donor Profile: Matt Bannister, First Vice President for Marketing and Innovation, PeoplesBank

Here’s the 2018 Frozen Yogurt 5K Route [Map]

National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month: A Call to Action

Gándara in the News: Debra Flynn-Gonzalez, Program Director for Hope for Holyoke

What Demi Lovato Can Teach Us About Recognizing Warning Signs of Relapse

New Study Shows Link Between Rising Temperatures & Suicide Rates

Mass. Senate Scraps Plan for Safe-Injection Site

Re-Entry Program for Prisoners in Plymouth to Feature Wrap-around Team Approach

Heather Murphy Receives Field Supervisor Award

Joanny Torrales Celebrates 15 Years at Gándara

Gov. Baker Announces $1 Million in Narcan Grants

Donor Profile: Bill Trudeau, President and CEO of Insurance Center of New England

Sign-on and Referral Bonus Program Returns

Debra Flynn-Gonzalez Honored in Boston as “Unsung Heroine”

Gándara in the News: Lianette Rivera

Cornerstone Program Director Cindy Carley Honored by WMSAPA

Hope After Addiction: Recovery Coach Training Grads Honored in Brockton

Suicide Prevention: Watch for the Warning Signs

Hope for Holyoke Hosts MOAR Western Massachusetts Policy Forum

The 4th Annual Frozen Yogurt 5K is Coming August 26

ArtSong Reception Celebrates Young Artists and Performers

Read Our Outpatient Clinic Accessibility Plan

 

 

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