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Synthetic opioid linked to deaths in central Illinois

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PEORIA (WSIL) -- Experts say a new synthetic opioid is making its way across Illinois with deadly consequences.

Brorphine is more powerful than fentynal and has already caused nearly two dozen deaths, including a handful in central Illinois.

In Peoria County, Brophine has contributed to three deaths in the past four months.

Coroner Jamie Harwood says the synthetic drug normally is mixed with methamphetamines, heroin, or cocaine. He says the drug may be similar to fentanyl, but there's one major distinction.

"The difference is the potency. The Brorphine is more potent, and it can also cause cardiac dysrhythmias and sudden cardiac death," explained Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood.

Experts like Harwood say Brorphine has been around for a few years but it just now making its way into Illinois.

He wants law enforcement agencies and treatment centers to be aware and ready to deal with the consequences.

According to the CDC, there were 1,568 synthetic opioid-related deaths in Illinois in 2018, the most recent year statistics are available. Kentucky had 744 related deaths that year, while Missouri and Tennessee saw 868 and 827, respectively.

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