Sunday, December 24, 2017

Fentanyl has ‘growing market in Europe’

Europe has a growing market for the opioid painkillers that have caused a deadly drug epidemic in Canada and the US.

Fentanyl is driving an increase in the number of deaths from drug overdoses on the continent, crime agency Europol says. Europol says 8,441 died from a drug overdose in 2015 - the latest year for which figures are available - up by more than a thousand two years earlier. There have been 24 different fentanyl analogues found on Europe’s drug market over the last five years, with 14 of them discovered since January 2016. Latest figures show US drug overdose deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids hit 20,145 in 2016, double the number from a year earlier.
The DEA has published a brief calling fentanyl a ‘global threat’ and said the number of forensic tests for the drug leapt from just 934 in 2013 to 13,002 two years later. Overdose deaths from all opioids, not just fentanyl, hit 2,304 in the UK, the highest number in Europe. Drug overdose deaths could be much higher because of systematic under-reporting.

In Australia the Drug Law Reform Foundation has warned that Fentanyl is making major inroads into the illicit drug market. This was confirmed by the overdose deaths of 13 drug users in Sydney in June 2017 from tainted heroin.