MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – A new drug has already caused someone’s death in Georgia, and there could be many more.
It’s how “Gray Death” is put together that worries law enforcement and paramedics.
Eric Johnson’s job as a paramedic means putting the patient first.
“When we get on scene we are more so focused on assessing our patient,” said Johnson.
But his head has to be on a swivel.
“We do have situational awareness, we’re paying attention to our surroundings, we’re looking for those substances,” said Johnson.
Johnson has dealt with a lot of different substances in his nearly 10 year career with Community Ambulance, but Gray Death stands out as the newest and one of the most dangerous.
“We haven’t seen it a lot here in central Georgia, it’s much more prominent in the metro Atlanta area, but I’m sure it’s going to be making its way down here,” said Johnson.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says it’s often a combination of heroin, fentanyl and cocaine.
“Every dose that you’re going to come across, every batch that you’re going to come across is going to be different,” said Johnson. “All the research–all the experiences in the past every time the chemists look at it it’s a different compound because people are mixing this stuff before they’re selling it.”
The mixture creates problems for users–they don’t know how much they’re getting, and it’s incredibly easy to overdose.
Lt. Michael Kenirey is over the Special Investigations Unit with the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office.
“It contains fentanyl, which is something we’ve seen in the last few years with the uprise in heroin,” said Kenirey.
The fentanyl in Gray Death is a problem for law enforcement sometimes because all it takes is touching it, and you could face serious health problems.
“It’s transdermal, which means casual contact with it, you could be exposed to it,” said Kenirey. “There have been some cases where law enforcement has been exposed to fentanyl.”
Community Ambulance paramedics carry Narcan, which can combat the effects of an overdose on scene.
“We use narcan that will reverse the effects of an opioid drug, in whatever form, whether it be a prescription opioid or a prescription opioid,” said Johnson.
Lt. Kenirey says the sheriff’s office is looking into deputies carrying it as well.
“For protection for the narcotics unit, being that we deal with it on such a regular basis,” said Kenirey.
Johnson says if you or a loved one needs help with drug abuse, there are rehabilitation facilities in the county that are ready to help.