Eagle County sees spike in Carfentanil deaths

Eagle County is now a leader in Colorado for carfentanil deaths.

EAGLE COUNTY - The Eagle County Sheriff's Office arrested a 23-year-old man from Florida in connection to the deaths of two residents earlier this year.

Samuel Brunelus is facing two counts of manslaughter and distribution of a schedule II controlled substance.

In March, detectives found two people dead and another person seriously hurt inside a home in the Blue Lake area. It was determined that the victims overdosed from Carfentanil, a drug 10,000 times more powerful than morphine.

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Eagle County Detective George Dow lead the investigation.

"It wasn't our typical death scene," he says, "Carfentanil is the extreme to any other substance or drug that's out there."

Experts believe Carfentanil is 10,000 times more powerful than morphine. The investigation was a wake up call for Detective Dow.

"It runs through your head like, this could have potentially been deadly for all of us," he said.

Law enforcement officials and first responders not just in Eagle County but across the country face a dilemna. They have to respond to drug calls that may involve the potentially deadly drug. However, it can put them in serious danger. By the time they have a reaction it may be too late, Detective Dow explains.

"Deputies don't know what they're dealing with a lot of the times," he says, "It could be baby powder mixed with Carfentanil, you just don't know."

Eagle County Sheriff James Van Beek changed policies and retrained deputies so they can be prepared if they encounter Carfentanil. In addition, deputies carry an emergency kit with gloves, glasses and Narcan.

"We don't even attempt to do field testing because of the fact that there's always a potential that you could spill it and get it on your hands," Sheriff Van Beek said.

He said the county seemed immune to rising opioid trends experienced in neighboring counties. However, everything changed when two peope overdosed from Carfentanil in March.

"Now that it's here, this is reality," he said.

Detectives couldn't release details of the death investigation since it's ongoing but say the two victims were in their 20's.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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