An extremely dangerous synthetic opioid called Carfentanyl has been discovered by the Australian Border Force at a Brisbane mail centre, prompting Queensland police to issue an urgent warning.

Carfentanyl is a structural analog of fentanyl – the opiate that caused Prince's accidental death last year – but is much, much stronger. 

At about 10,000 times stronger than morphine, it's one of the most potent opioids currently being manufactured, and its side effects include itching, nausea, and most worryingly, fatal respiratory depression. It is illegal in Australia, but overseas is most commonly used as a large animal tranquilliser, i.e. zoos use it to knock out elephants. This is not a drug for humans. 

Police Minister Mark Ryan explained to the Brisbane Times:

"I am advised that Carfentanyl is a highly toxic and potent synthetic based drug, with a 0.002mg dose enough to kill a person. 

"The fact that this illegal drug has been located in Queensland is very concerning and together with the police, we are urging people to not take any risks at all with this illicit drug."

For some perspective, that lethal dose of 0.002mg is less than a grain of salt. I just cannot overstate how dangerous this stuff is.

Carfentanyl comes in the form of a white powder, and is notorious for popping up in heroin supplies in China and North America, causing mass overdoses. Carfentanyl is also potent enough to cause significant risk to anyone who comes into contact with it, even on their skin or eyes. 

Detective Superintendent Jon Wacker of the Queensland Police Service Drug and Serious Crime Group told reporters:

"Make no mistake, these are not party drugs. These are dangerous drugs and it's not a matter of if it will kill you. This drug will kill you."

Stay safe, friends. Elephant tranqs are just not to be trifled with.

Photo: St. Thomas Police Service.