New Internet Drug Acrylfentanyl Even More Potent Than Fentanyl
A new analog of fentanyl known as acrylfentanyl (acryl fentanyl) has appeared on the U.S. black market, and is thought t be as much as 100 times more powerful than morphine, and is so potent that the Drug Enforcement Agency has put forth a warning about the drug. The agency says that acryl fentanyl may even be resistant to the anti-overdose drug naloxone.
Acryl fentanyl, unlike fentanyl, has no legitimate medical indication. It is manufactured overseas and shipped into the U.S. after being purchased on the Internet as a designer drug. Officials at the DEA say that the drug may be appearing in the Pennsylvania area:
David Battiste, DEA Special Agent, to CBS Local in Philadelphia:
“If acryl fentanyl is introduced into the population, it can have devastating effects. This one has no medical use at all. At all. So it’s here illegally.”
Also, North Dakota officials have warned the public about using the drug, and that naloxone (Narcan) may not be enough to save a life:
West Fargo Police Interim Chief Jerry Boyer:
“Narcan is not the 100% fail safe that people may think it is, it does not always work.”
It’s still too early to tell if naloxone would be as resistant to acryl fentanyl as some say.
In March, China banned the manufacture and sale of several types of fentanyl, including acryl fentanyl. However, in light of the DEA’s warning, it appears that this action hasn’t entirely curbed the flow of deadly synthetic opioids into the U.S.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overdose deaths from synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and acryl fentanyl increased 72% between 2014-2015.
Most recently, acrylfentanyl has been confirmed in 44 deaths in 2017 in Cook County, Illinois. In the same area, seven deaths were linked to the drug in 2016.
Acrylfentanyl has also been linked to at least 20 fatalities in Sweden and two deaths in Denmark.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology