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Minnesota Coroners’ & Medical Examiners’ Association

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We hope to expand our ability to provide physician colleagues, partnering agencies and anyone involved with, or interested in, death investigation in the region with a greater variety of information and resources.

3/29/17 Important Information

As of yesterday (Mar 28, 2017), the Hennepin County Medical Examiner (HCME), in conjunction with Hennepin County Medical Center’s Toxicology Laboratory, has positively identified the synthetic opioid carfentanil in five HCME cases. The deaths date from Jan 30 to Feb 17 of this year.  We have several other cases we suspect may be carfentanil-related, but these await confirmatory testing.  We have shared our findings with the regional DEA office in Minneapolis as well as the local law enforcement agencies investigating these deaths.

In all five of our carfentanil positive cases, the history and death scene (given the presence of drug paraphernalia) were highly suspicious for a drug intoxication, but our drug screen did not detect opiates.   Sendout testing to NMS Labs, using NMS’s “Designer Opioids” panel, detected and quantified the carfentanil in each case.

You may want to keep carfentanil in mind as you investigate suspected drug-related deaths. Carfentanil is orders of magnitude more potent than the opiates we regularly encounter, including fentanyl.  Some of the dangers of carfentanil are highlighted in a bulletin put out by the DEA last fall (PDF attached).

– Our Purpose –

To form and perpetuate an efficient organization of Coroners and Medical Examiners, their deputies and investigators, and former Coroners;

To provide for the prompt exchange of information pertaining to the duties, methods and official practice of the members and to furnish advance notice of all such matters as may threaten violation of law, relative to deaths of persons, under the jurisdiction of the Coroners and Medical Examiners;

To cooperate with peace officers throughout Minnesota and with similar organizations in other states;

To exert such influence as may be necessary to bring about and preserve legislation in harmony with the need of enforcement officials, and the safety and welfare of the public;

To acquire, use and dispose of such property as may be necessary of the transaction of its business;

To alter or amend any or all of the foregoing statements of purposes whenever necessary to make the same consistent with the powers, duties or policies of the membership.