FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — Massachusetts State Police say their crime lab this year has identified a dozen samples of carfentanil (kahr-FEHN’-tuh-nihl), an extremely powerful synthetic opioid sometimes used to sedate elephants.

Col. Richard McKeon said Tuesday the lab has confirmed the presence of the substance in samples seized in Boston, Brockton and other communities.

McKeon says the lab has detected the powerful opioid fentanyl in 2,300 samples so far this year. Detectives have responded to 634 suspected opioid deaths so far this year, a number that McKeon says “seems to be on pace” with 2016.

Michael Ferguson, a special agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, called fentanyl and carfentanil “manufactured death,” saying carfentanil is so powerful it only takes 2 milligrams to kill an individual.

Carfentanil is 100 times stronger than fentanyl.

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