Photo via Harford County Sheriff’s Office

The absurdly deadly opioid carfentanil appears to be making the rounds in the Baltimore area.

The Harford County Sheriff’s Office posted a somber message to Facebook today saying officials learned yesterday that the drug was responsible for a fatal overdose in their jurisdiction.

“For the last several months, we have been hearing about the dangers of carfentanil and preparing our deputies for it to turn up in our communities. Last night, we learned that the victim of one of our 34 fatal heroin suspected overdoses, tested positive for carfentanil,” the message reads.

It continues: “When the the deadly synthetic began appearing in our surrounding communities, we knew it wouldn’t be long before it made its way into Harford County.”

Carfentanil, a synthetic opioid used to put enormous animals like elephants and rhinos under, is now being used by humans — a deadly devolvement in the tireless civilizational fight against opioid addiction. Feds say the drug is 10,000 times stronger than morphine and 5,000 times stronger than heroin. They warned last fall that it could soon begin appearing in the United States.

And as they predicted, dealers appear to be cutting their heroin with the synthetic, to deadly results so far in Maryland. Anne Arundel County health officials say they’ve had three fatal overdoses this year, and another one was reported in Frederick County.

Add Harford County to that list now, too. As noted above, the state has had 34 overdose deaths in 2017 alone, with 160 combined fatal and non-fatal overdoses so far this year.

Gov. Larry Hogan has waged a war on opioids, calling a state of emergency earlier this year to try to address the problem with more money and better mobilization of resources.

Only time will tell if it works, but as state figures indicate, the opioid problem in Maryland presently only appears to be worsening over time.

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...