They have caused tremendous damage in the U.S., leaving behind an "epidemic of fatalities". Now those two deadly drugs are already spreading into British streets. The UK's National Crime Agency has issued a strong warning about those drugs that kill.
Authorities believe a series of deaths in the north of England has been caused by a strong heroin laced with fentanyl, an opioid 100 times stronger than the usual street heroin, and its 'chemical cousin' carfentanil, which is 100 times stronger again, so much so that it is used by veterinarians to tranquilize elephants.
Police fear that carfentanil and fentanyl which are also called by their street names in the U.S. as "drop dead" and "serial killer" may now be circulating in drugs around the whole country, not just in Yorkshire, Humberside and Cleveland where the deaths took place. The authorities made such discovery after raiding a backstreet lab suspected of making the substances.
Police and medical authorities are very concerned with the deadly drugs that Public Health England ( PHE) has even issued a drugs alert. Tony Saggers, head of drugs threat and intelligence at the NCA also said that they have taken the unusual step of appealing to people to be vigilant. Saggers said that specific retesting has indicated that the influence of fentanyl is greater than initially expected.
The authorities also believe that with the very recent laboratory raid, UK customers beyond the north-east region are likely to have received consignments of the said drugs. Saggers expressed greater concern with the possibility that drug dealers within established heroin markets may have purchased fentanyl, carfentanil, or similar substances from the facility they raided. Trouble is those dealers may not be aware how dangerous those drugs are, both for them when they handle those, and for their customers.
Saggers appealed to dealers who have bought fentanyl to mix with heroin or other drugs to just stop selling immediately and reduce the risk that more people will die. He also warned of the criminal justice implications of supplying fentanyl mixed into other drugs.
Heroin laced with fentanyl and carfentanil was the cause of an epidemic of deaths among American drug users. Fentanyl is usually prescribed for severe pain relief and believed to be the cause of the death of pop star Prince who reportedly took it accidentally after taking pills from a wrongly labelled bottle.
Previously, there have been few fatalities linked to fentanyl or carfentanil in the UK. But on April 14, four people died in the Barnsley area of South Yorkshire. Another two men died a day after that in Leeds and Normanton in West Yorkshire. Tests from the drugs recovered in those instances showed traces of fentanyl. Succeeding similar deaths in other areas have been recorded raising authorities' alarm over the deadly drugs described also as serial killer even higher.