Narcan resistant drug cause for concern for officers, drug agents

The gray death, a concrete look-a-like drug, can be deadly upon contact. (Source: Associated Press)

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – After drug agents confirmed a Narcan resistant strand of heroin called ‘the gray death’ was found in Horry County, police say they’re worried for their own lives.

Law enforcement officers and the DEA agents explain why they are now hesitant to respond to overdose calls.  The new mixes of heroin and fentanyl are extremely dangerous. Contact alone can be deadly, which makes saving an overdose patient even more threatening for first responders and police.

“Gray death looks like concrete,” explains Lt. Jamie Debari Horry County Police Narcotics Unit.

The concrete look-a-like drug has already killed about 50 people in Georgia in the last few months and now is on the streets of Horry County communities.

“It’s even dangerous for us to handle with protective gloves on,” warns Lt. Debari.

The potent drug has officers worried when they are called to overdose scenes that they could be the next victim of the drug, even without taking it.

“We’ve seen throughout the nation that officers have been exposed and been administered Narcan on the scene just by coming in contact with the fentanyl,” recalls Lt. Debari.

The DEA report, however, Narcan won’t help someone overdosing on the gray death or a new drug just found on the streets of Myrtle Beach.

“This latest concoction that we’ve seen beyond gray death is called methoxyacetyl-fentayl,” confirms Patrick Apel, Resident DEA Agent in Charge. “It’s even a more powerful version of fentanyl and also poses just as great a risk to law enforcement, public safety, and the general public. We have seen that drug in Myrtle Beach. It’s on the streets. So, everyone just needs to be vigilant.”

Apel says it’s more powerful than fentanyl and is being made in labs by world-class chemists in China, to increase potency for drug addicts and to avoid federal laws because some substances weren’t considered scheduled narcotics.

“We’re as DEA catching up with the trend and I can tell you that this particular component and variant is now a scheduled narcotic, so obviously anyone who’s on the street selling this stuff will be charged,” warns Apel. “They can be charged for selling this dangerous substance just like if they were selling heroin.”

An officer in Ohio recently accidentally overdosed on the gray death while making an arrest when he touched the drug. While he is expected to be okay, that’s why Horry County Police say they are taking extra precautions with these two new drugs out on the streets.