Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Across North America, fentanyl is killing people at an alarming rate. The opiate, far more potent and allegedly much cheaper than heroin, is already the root of a British Columbia state of emergency after a reported 200 fentanyl-related overdoses swept the province in the first three months of 2016.
Now a new version of fentanyl is already on the market — and because of a technicality, it's completely legal.
Fentanyl, like flakka and other synthetic street drugs, is slippery: When a country tries to block it, drug manufacturers can simply tweak the formula to sneak around legislation. It's like a Hydra: When you cut off one variant, another pops up in its place.
The scary part about fentanyl is that, in most cases, people aren't trying to buy fentanyl at all. It's been reported as a cutting agent in heroin and, maybe worse, in pills like Xanax and Oxycontin — sedatives and painkillers popular among teens.
In some cases, those counterfeit pills are coming from Dark Net markets, hidden websites that sell anything from guns to drugs. The problem is that you don't always know what you're getting online, especially when the drugs are chemically synthesized.
"Any street heroin dealer with access to the [Dark Net market] ... can now source fentanyl and raise profit margins at the cost of lives," AlpraKing, a Dark Net Xanax dealer who has been sent a fentanyl-contaminated batch of antidepressants in the past, told Mic via instant messenger. "Fentanyl itself is an issue," he said, but even worse are the untested chemicals that producers are using to bypass these bans — "they can be bought from any China factory for dirt cheap. And people in the street are selling fentanyl or its analogs as heroin."
Like in flakka's case, the Drug Enforcement Administration can't keep up with regulating constantly fluctuating versions of fentanyl: For the Chinese labs, changing the composition is about as easy as changing your cookie recipe from sugar to chocolate chip. China's already banned at least 116 analogs of fentanyl.
The trouble is, if the DEA and China regulate only the drugs they can identify, there will always be a new fentanyl — and the body count will keep rising.
(London, Ontario – Tuesday, November 8, 2016) - On Thursday, November 3, 2016 members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) London Detachment and Synthetic Drug Operations, Ontario Provincial Police Biker Enforcement Unit, London Police Service Guns and Drugs Section and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), arrested a London area male for importing Furanyl-fentanyl and possession of Furanyl-fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking.
As a result of a search warrant at a residence on Patann Drive in London, Ontario, Justin Donald Brown, age 28, has been charged with possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking contrary to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and importing a controlled substance contrary to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
On October 24, 2016, CBSA border services officers (BSO) at the Vancouver International Mail Centre intercepted a package from China destined for London, Ontario. During a routine inspection, BSOs examined a parcel weighing over 30 grams that was declared as “plastic bags.” An x-ray image of the parcel indicated suspected powder. The parcel was alleged to contain 10 grams of Furanyl-fentanyl. The CBSA alerted the RCMP and further investigation led to the search warrant and arrest.
"The production of fentanyl laced drugs in clandestine labs can lead to fatal concentrations of illicit substances,” stated Inspector Joe Czenze, Officer in Charge of the London RCMP Detachment, “This is an excellent example of several law enforcement agencies working together to prevent the importation and trafficking of a dangerous substance in our community."
“Fentanyl and its derivatives pose a serious risk to public safety. The London Police Service will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to try to prevent this substance from becoming prevalent in London,” stated Chief John Pare of the London Police Service.
“This interception demonstrates how the CBSA continues to collaborate with the RCMP and other law enforcement partners in preserving the integrity of our borders and in keeping our country safe,” stated David Lee, Chief of Operations at the Vancouver International Mail Centre.
Justin Brown will make his next appearance at the London court house on November 25, 2016.