Two Fentanyl Analogues New to GBI Crime Lab Encountered

July 3, 2017

Updated – On Thursday, June 29, 2017, the Georgia State Board of Pharmacy voted to pass an Emergency Rule which regulates the newly identified synthetic fentanyl, tetrahydrofuran fentanyl, as a Schedule I substance.  This rule gives all Georgia Peace Officers the same authority as Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agents to seize this substance. 

Last week, the GBI Crime Lab encountered acrylfentanyl in a counterfeit pill.  This is the first known instance of this new synthetic fentanyl in a counterfeit pill.  It is emphasized that pills purchased through the underground market have a high probability of containing very dangerous synthetic opioids.

As a reminder, naloxone remains the best course of action against the newer fentanyl analogues although multiple doses may be required.  In the acute overdose setting where someone has overdosed and the respiratory and nervous systems have been affected, naloxone is the drug of choice because it acts far more rapidly than other opioid reversal drugs on the market.  

Cleveland, GA 6/27/17 -The Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Crime Lab in Cleveland, GA has identified two new fentanyl analogues, acrylfentanyl and tetrahydrofuran fentanyl.  Both of these synthetic opioids had not previously been identified by the GBI Crime Lab.  They both can be absorbed through the skin and are considered highly dangerous. 

The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office submitted forensic drug evidence containing these two drugs to the crime lab in March of this year.  Acrylfentanyl had been on the GBI’s watchlist for the past few months. Multiple reports in other states indicated that the opioid reversal drug, naloxone, may not be effective if someone overdosed after ingesting acrylfentanyl.   

Legislation was introduced this year to outlaw acrylfentanyl in Georgia.  The law banning the substance went into effect after passage by the Georgia General Assembly and the Governor’s signature on April 17, 2017.  At this time, tetrahydrofuran fentanyl is not covered under GA law.

It is unknown how the human body will react to both drugs since they are not intended for human or veterinary use. 


Nelly Miles – Public Affairs Director | Decatur | 404/270-8330