Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Fentanyl Distribution

Fentanyl on the black market is made in China, where manufacturers make countless variations of the drug called analogs. It is shipped to the United States, often in a liquid form, purchased on the dark internet.

Over the past few years, more fentanyl is being shipped to Mexico in powder form and then mixed with poor-quality heroin or heroin that has been cut with too much quinine. Online recipes suggest mixing a teaspoon of fentanyl with 4 kilograms of quinine and 1 kilogram of poor heroin will lead to a street-quality heroin that still has a “kick.”

Fentanyl is also made into pills that look like prescription painkillers in “pill mills” located in ports on Mexico’s west coast and the Gulf of California. The powder is mixed with inert substances, blue or tan dyes are added with some water, and then the mixture is pressed into pills.
A kilogram of fentanyl in highly diluted form is worth about $3,000 in Mexico and triple that in the southwestern United States. The price soars to $18,000 per kilogram in the Northeast. Although the drug is fairly simple to make with the correct precursor chemicals, the purity of fentanyl produced in Mexican laboratories varies widely.

Kilograms of fentanyl seized by US law enforcement tend to have a purity level of around 7 percent. Even at that level of purity, the drug has to be cut to about 1 milligram in a 30-milligram pill to give users their “high” without killing them. Because the purity varies, the price is difficult to calculate. Theoretically, a kilogram of pure fentanyl could produce 1 million pills, each with 1 milligram of fentanyl. If each pill sold for $10, that would translate into $10 million street value.
The situation in Canada is dire and not getting better. Police in Surrey had the latest tool for combating fentanyl overdoses on their belts- the nasal-spray version of Narcan, the brand name for naloxone- for just two days before it saved a life.