There is an illegal drug that’s so lethal… that even dealers would say no to it.
It’s called fentanyl.
And it concerns even dealers on the dark web, who sell everything from marijuana to weapons.
The dealers fear that selling a drug that results in fatalities will only garner police attention.
“If they’ve got people selling very high-risk commodities then it’s going to increase the risk to them,” says Vince O’Brien, one of the agency’s leads on drugs.
According to the National Crime Agency in the UK, major dark web suppliers are delisting fentanyl since the synthetic opioid substance is too risky to trade.
There is a consensus among dealers and users on how dangerous the drug is. Drug users themselves post in online forums, and they do not think it’s right for people to sell fentanyl because of its lethal nature.
And it’s true, many people have died due to fentanyl.
What is Fentanyl?
Since it’s development in the 1950s, fentanyl was prescribed for cancer patients and those with chronic pain.
Because of its synthetic nature, it does not require opium poppy crops. It’s a cheap, mass-produced painkiller.
When it dulls the pain and it’s cheap, it should be particularly helpful to those in pain, right? Wrong.
Fentanyl is extremely potent. It is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine.
Anaesthesiologists have been administering it to patients for more than 30 years — and the dose is controlled, vastly different from how an addict would use it.
What makes Fentanyl particularly dangerous?
According to Professor David A Scott, the president of Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA), “Anaesthetists like it because it comes on quickly and wears off after a relatively short period of time.”
He adds that illicit fentanyl users are endangering themselves by unknowingly or willingly taking fentanyl-laced with less potent heroin.
Unlike with patches, where the intention is to dispense a low dose so that it slowly provides a constant background level of fentanyl.
“Certainly, the opioids that are out there now are causing more harm than any good. In some cases, they’re causing death — and that’s completely unacceptable,” he added.
People take fentanyl for the same reason they seek opioids — to get that euphoric high. And then there are some people who unknowingly take it and overdose on it — usually by taking heroin cut with fentanyl.
Being that it’s illegal, there is an absence of quality control. Therefore, the result is a combination of an already potent opioid (heroin) with an extremely potent opioid (fentanyl).
The combination drug slows breathing. And then the user falls unconscious until he or she finally stops the breathing.
According to Professor Scott, “The gap between getting high they are after and having their breathing stop is just too, too narrow. The risk of death is just too high.”
“We should be very afraid of fentanyl in its illicit form. Used illegally, it’s very potent,” he said.
Safeguard your business and employees against the dangers of Fentanyl
Considering that users of opioids are predominantly middle class and are holding white-collar jobs, HR executives should take precautions against the fentanyl drug. Especially since there are studies and surveys that show a significant percentage of drug users employed and active in the Australian workplace.
It pays to have a system in place to protect your business and employees from the dangers of fentanyl. Many business owners now have a drug policy in place that includes a drug testing programme.
As an employer, HR or OHS officer, you are responsible for the safety of staff and the general public. Moreover, workplace accidents mean higher insurance premiums and even costlier lawsuits.
Our mission at Safework Laboratories is to help you secure and safeguard your company and workforce from the impact of drug and alcohol-related incidents at work. Our tests can detect fentanyl and all other major drugs. Our comprehensive drug testing services are leading the drug safety industry in Australia today.