Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid pain medication that is the most widely used synthetic opioid in medicine. It’s 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.
It was initially developed for surgical cases and for end of life care.
As a street drug, it’s now killing more Americans annually than any other drug in U.S. history.
Think about that…
How did this happen?
At first – the drug was found only in hospital operating rooms. Later, it was made available in a patch that was developed to treat chronic pain – a profitable new market for the drug.
In patch form, fentanyl is hard to access.
But then drug companies began to sell millions of prescriptions of the drug in the form of lozenges, tablets and nasal sprays – opening the door to the illicit drug market.
Now, sadly, the drug is seemingly everywhere, easily “cut” into other drugs from heroin to cocaine, prescription pills, and even marijuana. And a little goes a very long way. Just 5 grams of the drug is enough to deliver a fatal dose to 250,000 people.
Why is it so attractive to drug dealers?
It’s cheap to make and profitable to sell. And it’s very powerful – making it attractive to addicts.
The source of much of the illicit fentanyl?
In China, fentanyl is still legal. It’s also not a particularly popular street drug there – so the Chinese don’t consider it a social problem and haven’t made the efforts to crack down on its manufacture and sale.
In fact, not only is China not policing its manufacture, they’re encouraging production through tax breaks, subsidies, and other measures.
Where do they sell much of what they make?
For the Chinese, the U.S. and Mexican drug cartels are their most profitable channels of distribution.
And it’s reaching U.S. markets through orders on the dark web, with delivery often accomplished through the U.S. postal service.
How can authorities stem the flow of this killer?
A bill was recently passed by Congress requiring close inspection of all shipments from China. So far, the Chinese are circumventing the law by not correctly listing the contents of close to a third of all packages shipped from their shores.
Could the Chinese stop the flow of fentanyl?
According to foreign policy experts – if they wanted to shut it all down, they could do it in a single day.
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