Currently, fentanyl is uncommon in Britain – implicated in fewer than 100 deaths per year versus 3,338 from all opiates and opioids.
But in the US, fentanyl implicated deaths have escalated by around 600% between 2015 and 2021 according to the country’s National Safety Council.
In the UK the fear is that fentanyl – an easily home cooked synthetic drug – could fill the heroin gap caused by the ban on poppy growing in Afghanistan. This fear comes after UN researchers monitoring the poppy ban suggested that synthetics could replace natural opiates in the next few years. Fentanyl is home cooked and can vary in toxicity/strength. Just a few grains can kill.
But it’s cheaper to produce and sell, is smaller, the profit margins are huge and it’s easier to package and transport. The crisis in North America was worsened by a previous addiction to prescription opioids, which led to a massive uptake in fentanyl (and as we see below tranq, or xylazine, a tranquiliser used by vets for large animals), by addicts. The UK doesn’t have the same painkiller addiction. But we cannot be complacent.
When you're high on fentanyl you get something called the nods. Effectively you are able to stand in the full upright position, like this guy today in the middle of Market street, and just bend your neck at almost a full 90 degree angle. You're still conscious but almost in a… pic.twitter.com/q7rUJY87cW— Thomas Hawk (@thomashawk) October 27, 2023
A person dies every 10 hours from fentanyl in San Francisco.— DD Denslow 🇬🇧 (@wolsned) August 30, 2023
Vancouver, Canada the same.
This drug has not hit the UK yet, when it does… it will devastate communities.
Fentanyl is an attack on the poorest and weakest like every other agenda.pic.twitter.com/mnh9d3dZmP