02 Agosto 2017 11:19
An increase in fentanyl-related deaths has been reportedA drug that is up to 100 times stronger than heroin has killed at least 60 people in the UK since December, with a further 70 suspected to have died from using the substance. Fentanyl, an opioid that is being mixed with heroin on the street, and is the same drug that killed popstar Prince last year. The National Crime Agency (NCA) has reiterated their warning to drug addicts, as well as their family and friends, about the harmful effects caused by taking the substance. This man-made sedative is sometimes prescribed to terminally ill patients because of its ultra-strength. Its sister substance carfentanyl is 10,000 times stronger and is used as an elephant tranquilizer. According to the NCA, postmortem toxicology reports since December showed that 60 people who died as a result of drug overdoses had fentanyl or a related substance in their system. 70 suspected cases are waiting for examination. Addicts are thought to be unaware that illegal drugs like heroin are being mixed with fentanyl, which can be injected, inhaled and even consumed via touch. Police investigating fentanyl consumption must wear protective clothing to avoid accidentally ingesting it. ‘The threat of synthetic opioids is not new,’ said Ian Cruxton, deputy director of the NCA. ‘However, since December 2016, we have seen a number of drug-related deaths linked to fentanyl and carfentanyl.’ ‘The NCA has been working with partners, both in the UK and overseas, to take action against those drug dealers who are playing Russian roulette with the lives of their customers by mixing synthetic opioids with heroin and other class A drugs.’ Fentanyl rose to prominence after Prince’s shock death in April 2016. The ‘Purple Rain’ singer passed away after an accidental overdose of the drug, which he reportedly took because of hip pain caused by jumping off music stages in high heels.