Beware of deadly heroin mix
The National Crime Agency (NCA), a national law enforcement agency in the UK, warned that UK drug users are at risk from a dangerous heroin mix.
A deadly synthetic opioid recently detected in heroin supplies in the north east of England could be present in drugs around the UK, the NCA has warned.
Fentanyl, which is up to 100 times stronger than street heroin, and its analogue carfentanyl which is 100 times stronger again, are believed to have caused several recent deaths in the Yorkshire, Humber and Cleveland areas.
An NCA and West Yorkshire Police operation on Monday this week, targeting a laboratory suspected of producing fentanyl and carfentanyl, has led to concerns that the substances could have been distributed to drug dealers across a much wider area and that drug users in other regions are now also at risk.
Even in the unlikely event that users know their drugs contain fentanyl, the chances of overdosing are high. Only 0.002g (1/50th) within a typical 0.1g heroin deal is potentially fatal, and the tiny amounts make it almost impossible to effect a controlled dose. For Carfentanyl the fatal dose is as small as 0.00002g, which equates to a few grains.
So what exactly is fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid or painkiller, first developed in the 1960s. “It is so potent and so deadly that even a microgram amount can kill someone,” said DEA spokesman Rusty Payne.
In recent years, the drug has been illegally manufactured mainly in labs in Mexico and China. It’s often used to cut heroin without buyers’ knowledge, resulting in lethal consequences.
One of the most prominent victims of fentanyl is Prince. He died on the 21 April 2016, at his suburban Minneapolis compound from a self-administered fentanyl overdose.
We searched for fentanyl on AlphaBay and bingo, we got a hit!
Respected AlphaBay vendor ‘bigjule33′ has fentanyl on offer. 1 gram for USD 450. He is also selling the 100 times more potent carfentanyl.
The toxicity of carfentanil has been compared to that of nerve gas, according to the Associated Press’ article “Chemical weapon for sale: China’s unregulated narcotic“.
Chinese businesses export carfentanil worldwide for as little as USD 2,750 a kilogram, that is USD 2.75 per gram.
Carfentanil is so deadly that an amount smaller than a poppy seed can kill a person. Despite the dangers, carfentanil is not a controlled substance in China, where it is manufactured legally and sold openly online.
In 2002, Russian special forces turned to carfentanil after a three-day standoff with Chechen separatists, who had taken more than 800 people hostage in a Moscow theater. They used an aerosol version of carfentanil, along with the less potent remifentanil, sending it through air vents, according to a paper by British scientists who tested clothing and urine samples from three survivors.
The strategy worked, but more than 120 hostages died from the effects of the chemicals.