The scariest drug you have never heard of is making its way to o - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

The scariest drug you have never heard of is making its way to our region

Posted: Updated:
MONTANA -

91 people die every day in this country because of opioid overdoses.

It's a group of drugs that includes everything from heroin to prescription pain killers to elephant tranquilizers.

Now drug dealers are making a deadly mixture of these drugs that's being called "gray death."

It's so strong you don't have to take it to be at risk.

Gray death is a deadly new drug that puts first responders at risk.

Mel Holtz, Firefighter Paramedic at Frenchtown Rural Fire, knew he wanted to be a firefighter when he was just a kid.

"Once I started early on I just kind of got hooked and I've been helping out ever since," said Holtz.

Now, he has logged 14 years as a first responder and his department takes about 700 calls a year, everything from fires to traffic accidents and medical calls.

In a training exercise, Holtz and his team worked on another firefighter for a drug-related incident.

Holtz said that in the field they're seeing more patients who are dealing with real overdoses.

"You know from when I started fourteen years ago the calls have changed. The drug-use has seen an uptick," said Holtz.

James McCubbin, Deputy Missoula County Attorney, also talked about scary new drug that's putting these first responders at risk.

"Well I guess bottom line my concern is that it is going to kill people," said McCubbin.

McCubbin is in the process of prosecuting his first case dealing with gray death, a dangerous mix of drugs including heroin and some form of other opioid like fentanyl or carfentanil, a drug so strong it's used as an elephant tranquilizer.

Scott Larson at the Montana State Crime lab said that they have dealt with about a dozen cases in the last two years.

"You never really know what you are getting with this," said Larson.

Even for scientists like Larson, it is extremely difficult to identify and extremely dangerous.

And it's not just addicts who need to worry about this drug because it is so strong that it can be absorbed through the skin or even through the air.

Something as simple as washing your hands could put you at risk.

“So if there is a drug user with fentanyl in a public restroom or something like that. A small child can go in and just put their hand on the sink and overdose," said McCubbin.

First responders are at especially high risk.

A police officer in Ohio recently overdosed when trace amounts of gray death got on his uniform.

Missoula Police Detective Eddie McLean said that departments across the region are changing their policies to keep their officers from accidentally overdosing.

"It's scary enough to us that we are requesting our officers to not conduct field tests on it," said Detective McLean.

And even small departments are stocking up on narcan, a nasal spray that counteracts the effects of an opioid overdose.

 It's a last line defense to make sure first responders like Mel make it home safe to their families.

Gray death is linked to more than a dozen deaths in Georgia and is suspected in deaths in Alabama and Ohio.

We called investigators in our region and so far it's only appeared at the Montana State Crime Lab. 

  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Name released of suspect in Missoula Northside shooting

    Name released of suspect in Missoula Northside shooting

    Thursday, September 20 2018 4:19 PM EDT2018-09-20 20:19:33 GMT

    MISSOULA - A 26-year-old man is in jail on charges related to a wreck and shooting on the Northside Thursday morning. 

    MISSOULA - A 26-year-old man is in jail on charges related to a wreck and shooting on the Northside Thursday morning. 

  • Lake County man charged with sexual assault of 4-year-old

    Lake County man charged with sexual assault of 4-year-old

    Friday, September 14 2018 4:41 PM EDT2018-09-14 20:41:44 GMT

    POLSON - Charging documents say a Lake County boy was airlifted to a Seattle hospital for treatment after the discovery of horrific abuse. Court documents say tribal officers responded to a home in Lake County on Aug. 24 after reports of severe abuse of a little boy. Witnesses said that the boy had a bed-wetting issue, and Keith Lee Michel, Jr., had been repeatedly taping the child's penis to stop him from urinating. A woman said she tried to stop MIchel from continuing th...

    POLSON - Charging documents say a Lake County boy was airlifted to a Seattle hospital for treatment after the discovery of horrific abuse. Court documents say tribal officers responded to a home in Lake County on Aug. 24 after reports of severe abuse of a little boy. Witnesses said that the boy had a bed-wetting issue, and Keith Lee Michel, Jr., had been repeatedly taping the child's penis to stop him from urinating. A woman said she tried to stop MIchel from continuing th...

  • Suspect in custody after shots fired, chase in Missoula Northside

    Suspect in custody after shots fired, chase in Missoula Northside

    Thursday, September 20 2018 8:54 AM EDT2018-09-20 12:54:28 GMT

    One man is in custody after an incident involving a gun and a short police chase in Missoula's Northside early Thursday morning. 

    One man is in custody after an incident involving a gun and a short police chase in Missoula's Northside early Thursday morning. 

  • Finally, indisputable proof: Bigfoot spotted in northern California

    Finally, indisputable proof: Bigfoot spotted in northern California

    Friday, January 9 2015 6:52 PM EST2015-01-09 23:52:03 GMT
    Saturday, January 10 2015 4:33 PM EST2015-01-10 21:33:06 GMT
    ROSEVILLE, Cali.- There is new, indisputable proof that Bigfoot exists, and has been spending most of his time in northern California. The footage was sent to a Paranormal group by a photographer/videographer who specializes in aerial videography using a quadcopter. A quadcopter is a drone that is lifted and propelled by 4 rotors.
    ROSEVILLE, Cali.- There is new, indisputable proof that Bigfoot exists, and has been spending most of his time in northern California. The footage was sent to a Paranormal group by a photographer/videographer who specializes in aerial videography using a quadcopter. A quadcopter is a drone that is lifted and propelled by 4 rotors.
  • Family asking for return of veteran's service dog Masik

    Family asking for return of veteran's service dog Masik

    Thursday, September 13 2018 12:04 PM EDT2018-09-13 16:04:31 GMT

    MISSOULA - A family is searching for their service dog, saying someone stole him from their truck while they parked at the Wye earlier this week. Masik the chow-chow belongs to Ryan Jones, a Marine who says he relies on the dog for helping with PTSD. 

    MISSOULA - A family is searching for their service dog, saying someone stole him from their truck while they parked at the Wye earlier this week. Masik the chow-chow belongs to Ryan Jones, a Marine who says he relies on the dog for helping with PTSD. 

  • Name released of suspect in trespassing at Old Faithful at Yellowstone

    Name released of suspect in trespassing at Old Faithful at Yellowstone

    Tuesday, September 18 2018 4:02 PM EDT2018-09-18 20:02:16 GMT

    A crowd watching Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park was alarmed to see an adult man leave the boardwalk and stand on some of the park's most beloved - and dangerous - thermal features.

    A crowd watching Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park was alarmed to see an adult man leave the boardwalk and stand on some of the park's most beloved - and dangerous - thermal features.

  • Yellowstone bull elk attacks man in new video

    Yellowstone bull elk attacks man in new video

    Friday, September 14 2018 12:43 PM EDT2018-09-14 16:43:33 GMT

    A newly released video captured the moment that a bull elk knocked over a man standing in his way at Yellowstone National Park.

    A newly released video captured the moment that a bull elk knocked over a man standing in his way at Yellowstone National Park.

  • Schools hike to support Philipsburg boy with MS

    Schools hike to support Philipsburg boy with MS

    Wednesday, September 19 2018 11:42 PM EDT2018-09-20 03:42:46 GMT
    Courtesy: Phillipsburg Public SchoolsCourtesy: Phillipsburg Public Schools

    Hundreds of school children took and a hike and a walk on Wednesday to raise funds for their classmate, 11-year-old Gus Fitz.

    Hundreds of school children took and a hike and a walk on Wednesday to raise funds for their classmate, 11-year-old Gus Fitz.

Powered by Frankly

Features

  • More Features
  • Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 Cowles Montana Media. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.