The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says a new drug is so dangerous, if someone touches it they could die.
Numbers just released show a drug called furanylfentanyl caused 19 deaths in Georgia from 2016 to 2017, and 11 were just this year.
The GBI was alerted to a pill factory in January in Gwinnett County and found 10 kilos of pills and powder that were labeled as oxycodone. The pills turned out to be the deadly furanylfentanyl, which is several times more potent than heroin.
"When I found out what I actually had, (I was) definitely a little scared because of the amount that was submitted. Anything could have happened, but luckily with the protective gear and the staff that I had, everything went OK," a GBI crime lab chemist said.
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The drug is so potent, it can cause a fatal overdose just through skin absorption.
"Oxycodone to touch it is still going to be very safe. To touch furanylfentanyl could absolutely be fatal ... just through the skin," said Dineen Kilcrease with the GBI crime lab.
A warning went out late Wednesday to police around the state after a search of records turned up the 19 deaths.
"We were in shock and we knew we had to take action," GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles said.
There is no way to know yet if the Gwinnett case caused any of the deaths.
The legislature just passed a new law that makes furanylfentanyl illegal in Georgia.
Cox Media Group