This New Synthetic Opioide Is Starting to Appear in the US


Acryloylfentanyl has been appearing in in various jurisdictions in the United States. In a report from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, in 2016, 42 deaths were associated with Acryloylfentanyl including 40 with confirmations and 29 in which Acryloylfentanyl was the cause of death or contributed to the death. U.S. Criminalists have been seeing a number of samples from police around the country of the drug Acryloylfentanyl.

As I noted in a prior blog post, Acryloylfentanyl is one of the drugs that the Chinese government is banning the manufacture of at the request of the DEA. However, it is still easily obtained via the internet and also via the dark web.

What is Acryloylfentanyl?

Acryloylfentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is structurally similar to fentanyl and can be easily obtained through Chinese labs. Doing a simple Google search, I found Acryloylfentanyl for sale from one Chinese source offering one pound of of the drug for $10,000 (U.S.).

Acryloylfentanyl is slightly more potent than Fentanyl, so one pound of Acryloylfentanyl will go a long way after being cut. To put this into perspective, dosages of heroin is measured in milligrams (mg). However, dosages of Acryloylfentanyl are measured in micrograms (ug).

Acryloylfentanyl has been seized in liquid or in tablet form. It has also been detected in powder form, and in one case, a capsule. The powder will typically be white to off-white in color. Acryloylfentanyl is not scheduled as of this writing.

Current drug trends
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Under the Influence

Most users will use this drug by injecting it into their veins. However, other users have put it into a liquid solution to inhale. As one Reddit user noted:

I’ve taken it rectally (wasteful), nasally (pretty good), and transdermally (DMSO is the key). Transdermally is the best route I’ve found yet, but I’m still experimenting. I feel it less in the head and more in the body. It’s the closest I’ve gotten to real fentanyl, and some butyr fent spray might aid it tremendously.

As noted by the user, Acryloylfentanyl is transdermal and poses a threat to police officers recovering it as evidence. I have written extensively on this in other blog posts. Users that are under the influence will have typical Narcotic Analgesic/Opiate signs of influence. These signs of influence include constricted pupils, slow breathing, slow pulse (below 60 beats per minute) and may be ‘on the nod’. There is very little information on dosage units, so overdoses may be frequent as garage chemists try to find the perfect mix of cutter and Acryloylfentanyl. However, it does appear that the following dosages are being used:

Light 5-12.5 micrograms
Common 12.5-25 micrograms
Strong 25-47.5 micrograms

In all routes of administration, the drug takes effect in minutes and lasts for hours.

If you want more information on synthetic drugs, take our online course on Emerging Drug Trends by clicking this link.

Author: Keith Graves
Keith is a retired Police Sergeant and worked in the San Francisco Bay Area for 29 years. Keith was named as California’s Narcotics Officer of the Year and is a prior winner of MADD’s California Hero Award. He has years of experience as a Narcotics Detective and a Narcotics Unit Supervisor and is a Drug Recognition Expert Instructor (IACP #3292). Keith teaches both the DRE course and the Drug Abuse Recognition Course and has taught at the Police Academy. He has developed several drug courses for the California Narcotics Officers Association, California POST and California Colleges and currently consults POST on drug investigation procedures. Keith has held other assignments besides narcotics including Training Sergeant, Patrol Sergeant, COPPS Officer, Traffic Officer, and 20 years as a SWAT Team member and Sniper Team Leader. Keith has taught thousands of officers and businesses around the world about drug use, drug trends, compliance training and drug investigations. He is recognized as an international drug expert and has testified as an expert in court proceedings on drug cases, homicide cases and rape prosecutions. Keith earned a BA in Business Management from Saint Mary's College of California and a MA in Criminal Justice. Keith is the Founder and President of Graves & Associates, a company dedicated to providing drug training to law enforcement and private industry.


  • Andy Sinclair

    Is it absorbed transdermally by itself? The reddit post above mentions DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide) as being key to transdermal administration – DMSO, an organic solvent, has a long history of being used to allow drugs to be absorbed through the skin. Regardless – the tiny dose required to have an effect means that you’d want gloves and mask on when handling (to prevent accidental absorption of trace amounts under fingernails or via inhalation)…

    • Andy, it is absorbed transdermally by itself. However, it is more efficient if DMSO is used. You are correct about DMSO being used to absorb drugs through the skin, much like what was written in the Reddit comment. Yes, to process Fentanyl products, you need an N95 mask, nitrile gloves (preferably doubled up) as well as a barrier to protect your clothes. That’s just for possession and minor sales cases. For bulk quantity, you need your own air source (an SCBA) as well as chemical protective clothing (think processing a drug lab).

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