| Fentanyl |
|An opioid of much greater potency than heroin, popular with big drug cartels.|
Fentanyl is a opioid drug of much greater potency than heroin, and is used for severe pain as well as recreationally. Its great strength and increasing availability has led to concern about the increase in cases of overdose. Its use surged in the US in 2020. It was implicated in the death of the singer Prince.
The drug was first made in 1959. It was first approved for use in the Netherlands on 17 July 1995.
Fentanyl's extreme potency presents a hazard to manufacturers. As well as being made on a large scale by big pharma in US and other countries, the drug is reportedly being manufactured for the black market in China and then smuggled to Europe.
Fentanyl is around 50-100 times more potent than morphine. It is often applied in the form of patches, to provide sustained pain relief over a long period. However, even a single patch may prove fatal if used by someone (especially a child) without a tolerance to opioids. It is sometimes found as an impurity in heroin, with fatal results.
Deaths due to fentanyl have been increasing in US in recent years. Deaths in UK have been few, but the number is increasing. Fentanyl was detected in Northen Ireland in 2017.
Fentanyl is approved for treatment of severe pain in cancer sufferers. In October 2017, the founder of Insys Therapeutics was charged in connection with a large increase in prescriptions while audio was released of an "Insys representative lying to a pharmaceutical benefit manager in order to get an inappropriate Subsys prescription covered."
In deep politics
Fentanyl may have played a part in the Skripal Affair; this would seem to explain how both the Skripals suddenly became incapacitated at the same time better than other theories such as novichok. [Citation Needed]
San Jose Police Officers Association
In 2023, Joanne Marian Segovia, the head of the San Jose Police Officers Association in the San Francisco Bay Area, faced federal charges for smuggling thousands of synthetic opioids into theU.S. from multiple countries with the intent to distribute them. Between 2015 and 2023, Segovia received 61 shipments that were labeled "Wedding Party Favors," "Shirts Tops," "Gift Makeup," "Chocolate and Sweets," "Food Supplement," "Health Product" and "Supplement," originating from countries including Hong Kong, Hungary, India and Singapore. She then distributed them by mail to other states, also using her office at the San Jose police union to to this.
Between July 2019 and January 2023, as part of an ongoing Homeland Security investigation into controlled substances being shipped into the San Francisco Bay Area from India, authorities intercepted and opened five such shipments and found that they contained thousands of pills, including the synthetic opioids Tramadol and Tapentadol. Segovia continued to order controlled substances even after being interviewed by federal investigators in February 2023. 
Channel 4 investigation
On 2 May 2023, Channel 4 News investigated fentanyl produced in Mexico:
- "We gain rare access inside the world’s most dangerous crime cartels, making one of the world’s most deadly opioid drugs.
- "Fentanyl drug use was the biggest cause of death for Americans aged between 18 and 45 – more than gun crime, more than road accidents.
- "The synthetic opiate killed at least seventy thousand Americans in just one year.
- "Fentanyl is smuggled across the Mexican border by the Sinaloa drug cartel, and US authorities have charged dozens of its members with trafficking – including the three sons of its leader, Joaquín Guzmán who’s now in a maximum security prison.
- "To grasp the dimensions of this deadly trade you need to confront the people behind it.
- "We did just that."
- ↑ https://www.zerohedge.com/political/americas-worst-drug-crisis-ever-causing-streets-many-cities-look-zombie-apocalypse-has
- ↑ http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-36436767
- ↑ a b http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-41341492
- ↑ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-40793887
- ↑ https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/10/doj-billionaire-pharma-owner-fueled-the-opioid-epidemic-with-bribery-scheme/
- ↑ https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/09/opioid-maker-posed-as-doctors-office-lied-to-push-deadly-opioid-on-patient/
- ↑ https://abcnews.go.com/US/bay-area-police-union-leader-allegedly-smuggled-fentanyl/story?id=98271260
- ↑ "Inside the fentanyl cartel: Mexico crime lords feeding US addiction"