Dangerous new drug on Georgia streets linked to at least 7 deaths

ATLANTA — The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is warning about a dangerous and deadly new drug in Georgia.

The GBI confirmed that a killer combination of drugs the state crime lab has never seen mixed together before has turned up twice in Georgia in recent months in drug seizures and even more often in autopsy results.

Experts suspect meth mixed with carfentanil, a large-mammal version of the deadly drug fentanyl, has already killed at least six people across the state in 2018.

"Carfentanil is 100 times stronger than fentanyl itself, so it's very deadly at such a low dose," GBI crime lab drug supervisor Dennen Kilcrease said.


Kilcrease said the two samples of the meth-carfentanil mix turned up in the Augusta vicinity, one in November and one in February though lab results came in much later.

The GBI also confirmed the combination of drugs has turned up in drug screens for autopsies at the state crime lab.

“After your inquiry, we went to check on the medical examiner’s results, and we found that there were six cases where people have died as a result of having methamphetamine and carfentanil in their system,” Nelly Miles with GBI said.

In four of those cases, the only drugs that were present were methamphetamine and carfentanil.

Miles said the numbers are just for 2018.

In 2017, there was another overdose death where carfentanil and meth were the only drugs that turned up on the screen, bringing the total to seven.

While normally investigators can’t tell from a drug screen whether a combination of drugs was ingested at the same time, all seven of the cases were from the Augusta vicinity.

“For anyone who buys illicit drugs on the street in any form, it is reasonable to fear that it may kill you,” Kilcrease said.

Miles said the seven deaths were all from Richmond or Columbia counties, but there could be others that have not shown up yet because of the time lag created by a crime lab backup.