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Only on 6: DEA special agent says heroin, synthetic opioids a “main focus” for agency

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ALBANY, NY (WRGB) “Right now with DEA our main focus is the heroin.”

David Zon is an Assistant Special Agent in Charge at the DEA Albany District Office.

Right now, he says stopping heroin is DEA management's top priority. One reason for that, he says heroin is now being laced with dangerous synthetic opioids that are killing people.

“Now that the fentanyl and the carfentanil are being added to it, what’s really got our attention is the overdose deaths, because it's one thing to have addiction, it’s another thing to have dead bodies on the streets because they're getting bad batches of heroin,” Zon said.

A DEA photo shows the amount of fentanyl it would take to kill a non-opiate user. The equivalent to about three to five grains of salt.

“It’s 100 times more potent than morphine,” Zon said.

Carfentanil is even more deadly.

“Carfentanil is literally an animal tranquilizer. Carfentanil is 10,000 more potent than morphine,” Zon said.

Despite the death toll associated with these additives, Special Agent Zon says some people are seeking out these potentially deadly batches.

“Because they want that feeling, they want that high that the person had before they died, because some people live in denial, that it’s not going to happen to me,” Zon said.

However, Zon says there many others who have no idea they're putting their lives at risk.

He says drug dealers are now adding fentanyl and carfentanil to most street drugs.

“Now we're seeing they’re taking the carfentanil and putting it into marijuana cigarettes,” Zon said.

Anne: Are they doing that to get people hooked on heroin?

“Absolutely. Because what they're doing, is they’re building a customer base with it,” Zon said.

Fentanyl and carfentanil have added another layer of difficulty for the federal government.

Special Agent Zon says synthetic opioids are mainly sold online on what's called the "dark web".

The new generation of DEA agents are being trained to stop drugs both on the street and on the internet.

CBS 6 is launching an initiative called 'Dose of Reality'.

We're taking an in-depth look at the state of heroin addiction in our community and making a commitment to find solutions to the opioid epidemic.

Our campaign focused on the opioid epidemic officially begins with a one-hour special airing Wednesday June 6th, 2018 at 7pm on the CW 15, CBS 6 Albany Facebook live and cbs6albany.com.

Your Voice, Your Future: Dose of Reality will focus on the struggle, the stigma and solutions surrounding the crisis.

You'll also be seeing weekly reports focused on solving this public health emergency.

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