The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says a drug is so dangerous, if someone touches it they could die.
Numbers just released show a drug called furanyl fentanyl, which the Drug Enforcement Administration website calls a synthetic opioid, caused 19 deaths in Georgia from 2016 to 2017, and 11 of those deaths happened just this year.
The GBI was alerted in January to a pill factory where it found 10 kilos of pills and powder that were labeled as oxycodone. The pills turned out to be the deadly furanyl fentanyl, 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,” Gwinnett County Deputy Shannon Volkadov said.
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 furanyl fentanyl could absolutely be fatal ... just through the skin,” GBI Crime Lab chemist Dineen Kilcrease said.
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 drugs found in January caused any of the deaths.
The Legislature just passed a new law that makes furanylfentanyl illegal in Georgia.