New York State Department of Health Issues Public Health Alert for Carfentanil Detected In Drug Samples From Central New York

Carfentanil is a Potent Drug up to 100 Times Stronger than Fentanyl

Department Has Issued a Public Health Alert to Community and Public Safety Partners in the Central New York Area

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 7, 2024)– The New York State Department of Health has issued a Public Health Alert after the Department's Drug Checking Program community partner, ACR Health, detected a dangerous mix of substances identified in the Central New York area. Two samples were tested from bags labeled "Super Mario" and were found to have a combination of fentanyl, xylazine, and trace amounts of heroin and carfentanil – a potent drug considered to be up to 100 times stronger than fentanyl. A third sample is being tested. The Public Health Alert was issued to community and public safety partners in the Central New York area.

"Carfentenil is a veterinary drug that is no longer marketed because it is so dangerous. The Department partners with community programs that provide access to drug checking so these dangerous substances are identified before they are used by a person who uses drugs and risks overdose," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "Our Drug Checking Program at ACR Health was able to quickly identify this dangerous substance and continues to be vital to our harm reduction and public health surveillance efforts and connecting people who use drugs with resources and support."

The samples were collected on May 20 and were confirmed by laboratory on June 6. The substance was reportedly linked to severe wounds needing emergency department care within 2 to 3 weeks of use. While bags containing the dangerous mix were labeled "Super Mario," it's important for individuals to take precaution with any unregulated substance, regardless of its label or packaging.

The State Department of Health's community drug checking programs remain a vital component to identifying potentially harmful substances in the unregulated drug supply. Selected programs examine residual amounts of substances brought in by individuals – and provide them with essential information to make informed decisions regarding their potential use.

Regardless of the identified substance(s), harm reduction strategies are always provided to the participants for further education and guidance. Community Drug Checking Programs are a key harm reduction resource and public health tool which allows for the rapid identification of emergent substances that in the past would only be identified in post-mortem toxicology testing.

More information on the State Department of Health Community Drug Checking Program and how to access drug checking services can be found on the Department's website at Drug Checking (