Fentanyl, recognized as one of the most potent synthetic opioids in the world has seen use as a medical drug for pain management. It has since grown to be widely used in many countries as a drug to inducehighs in addicts and first time users around the world.
For some background, the drug was firstinvented in Belgium, by a native physician in 1959. An accident at first, Paul Janssen recognised that by altering the chemicalstructure of morphine, one could chance upon the very volatile fentanyl, which while potent and fast acting, could aid with extreme pain alleviation. He created a commercial business with it; which now owned by pharmaceutical giants Johnson & Johnson is used in the making of fentanylpatches for use in the medical field of cancerpain research worldwide.
One key characteristic of opioids is their addictiveness and its propensity to transit the realm of recreational use to depraveddependency. With fentanyl however, its volatile nature increases the susceptibility of users to overdosing and possible death - but in recent times, both legal and illegal producers of recreational and medical drugs have been mixing fentanyl with more safe drugs like ecstasy pills and oxycodone to increase its potency rendering it extremely unstable and unsafe.
(It is recorded that a bare 2 milligrams of fentanyl can kill an adult male)
JournalistBen Westhoff writes in his book Fentanyl Inc
Fentanyl is an opioid that is 50 times stronger than heroin, 100 times stronger than morphine… Basically, it’s so cheap to produce and it’s so powerful, that drug dealers began realizing it was a way to increase their profits.
Now one may wonder how the opioid market is so saturated with fentanyl if it’s so dangerous. Its production is mostly traced back to China, where regulation is not as strict as in the U.S and where chemical companies are encouraged by the government with grants, subsidies and tax holidays. Combined with the fact that fentanylproduction is legal in China, production is very easy - and smuggling it into other countries where they have stricterlaws about the drug does not present much of a challenge on its own.
The drugs are very small and can easily fit into envelopes or hidden in other innocent medical canisters or containers which are often mislabelled to look like other innocent medications, they can be sent via mail since they are shipped in rather small amounts and are often sold over the darkweb to the U.S and cartels in Mexico where they are distributed.
Fentanyl dealers in the United States, anonymously share the delivery methods of their products are usually innocuous and that while a bare few have genuine concerns about how the drug can be used to revolutionise mind-expansion and calming treatments for anxiety and ADHD, others have no cares in the matter often selling them in unsafe amounts and to drug addicts who are likely to overdose.
In the fight against the Opioidcrisis in the U.S, the government and various states have establishedfederallaws and made medical advances into identifying the use of fentanyl in recreational & prescription drugs and have made some provision for fentanyl test strips to check ecstasy, oxycodone, heroin and others.
Some cities and states are making provisions for publichealthfacilities to distribute these test kits to improve accessibility, awareness and possible eradication of growing dependency and addiction on the drug. Others have also outlawed the tools and while the logic behind that is gravely unclear, it’s a direct step back from the progress being made in the fight against the Opioid Crisis in the U.S.