Lethal drug 10,000 times stronger than morphine is being sold on the dark web
Provided by Metro Carfentanil is a substance that acts on opioid receptors and is primarily used for pain relief and anaesthesia (Picture: Hailshadow/Getty)
An extremely ‘lethal’ drug is now available from more than 60 dark web suppliers, experts have warned.
Carfentanil is said to be 10,000 times more powerful than morphine and is used in veterinary medicine to anaesthetise elephants and bears.
Russia deployed the drug against Chechen separatists in 2002, killing 125 people and now experts have found 63 vendors selling the opioid online.
Ornella Corazza, professor of addiction science at Hertfordshire University, told the Home Affairs Committee: ‘According to our systematic analysis of the dark net we found 118 listings where you could actually buy this substance.
‘Carfentanil is extremely toxic and powerful.
‘In an age of global insecurity, I would advise that more attention is paid to these types of substances and the illicit dark market,’ she added.
Professor David Nutt, former government advisor on drug misuse, warned that fentanils – the group of drugs carfentanil belongs to – would pose a ‘serious problem’ if they became as widely used as in the United States.
Provided by Metro There are fears the UK could have a tidal wave of fentanyl overdoses and deaths like in the US (Picture: Getty)
‘Fentanils are the biggest risk drug because they are so lethal,’ he said.
‘They are to my mind a big threat, particularly if there is a drought of heroin as there has been previously when Afghanistan stops production.’
Experts agreed that a proactive approach was needed to reduce potential harms.
‘The only way you can deal with a problem like fentanyl is to have a regulated market for drugs that are less harmful so that people don’t go on the black market to get it,’ Professor Nutt said.
He then called for a wider rollout of antidotes in case people do accidentally take it.
The researchers found it is not just being used as a heroin substitute, but dealers are putting it into other drugs to give them a bit more kick and a bigger high.
It comes after Afghanistan’s new Taliban leaders announced they were banning drug production.
When they enforced a similar ban in 2000 to 2001, international drug cartels turned to other types of illegal substances to make money.
Reference: Metro: Ruchira Sharma
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