- February 16, 2017
- Posted by: Keith Graves
- Category: Drug Trends, Opiates, Pharmaceutical Investigations, Uncategorized
Banning Carfentanil Will Slow, Not Stop Our Problems
Effective March 1st, carfentanil, furanyl fentanyl, valeryl fentanyl, and acryl fentanyl will be banned in China. That means that Chinese manufacturers, who have been at the forefront of the U.S. and Canada’s fentanyl epidemic, will not longer legally be able to manufacture the drugs.
This same move happened with flakka last year. South Florida had an epidemic of flakka that was coming from China, much like our problems with fentanyl analogs. The supply of flakka definitely dried up, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have anymore problems. Users and Chinese manufacturers just changed their drug of choice. Flakka comes from a class of drugs that has an unlimited supply of replacements. Just look at the book PIHKAL. PIHKAL is a veritable recipe book of drugs just like flakka and lists flakka in its contents. Since flakka is in short supply, just flip the page to a new recipe and you have a new, legal replacement.
There are Other Fentanyl Analogs That Can Replace Carfentanil
Just like flakka, there are other fentanyl analogs that can be used that are completely legal. Last year, China banned Aceytl Fentanyl, but labs in China quickly re-tooled their factories to start popping out furanyl-fentanyl. Now that furanyl-fentanyl is banned, how long will it be until they find a different analog? We are in a new era of drugs. When I first started as a cop, we only had to worry about meth, cocaine, PCP, marijuana and heroin. Now, synthetic drugs are starting to take over. When one is banned, you can tweak a molecule and be well within the law to manufacture it. The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) was passed by Congress in 1970. The drugs that we had back then were limited comparative to the drugs that we have today. So when a new fentanyl analog comes and replaces carfentanil, our CSA will not be able to outlaw the latest analog and we will be stuck with a legal and deadly high for the masses.
Carfentanil and it’s Eventual Replacement are a Terrorist Threat
The fentanyl threat is more than just a public health or criminal justice threat. It is also a threat to our nation’s security. There are other fentanyl analogs as powerful as carfentanil, that can be used as a weapon. As an example, in 2002, 40-50 armed Chechens seized a theater in Moscow and took 850 people hostage. To stop the siege and eventual and imminent slaughter of the hostages, Russian security forces are believed to have pumped in Carfentanil through the air system to knock out everyone in the theater. At least 170 people died. This incident also showed how fentanyl analogs can be weaponized. Some scientists believe that Carfentanil, as a weapon, can be more effective than the deadly chemical weapon VX.
The Economical Model of Fentanyl
There are several reasons why smugglers and drug dealers will continue to switch to fentanyl as a replacement for other drugs. First off, you can smuggle a kilo of heroin or you can smuggle a few grams of fentanyl. It is much easier to smuggle fentanyl around the globe, so your supply chain is more efficient and the chances of getting caught are much slimmer. Or, you could put a few grains of fentanyl into a powder and press that into a pill that looks like a legitimate pharmaceutical. Fentanyl is the reigning champion of the narcotic world. It is the most powerful narcotic analgesic (opiate based pain killer) on the market. With fentanyl, a user will remain high longer than traditional opiates. Fentanyl is also more profitable. If a drug dealer is diluting a fentanyl analog as powerful as carfentanil down to a 2 microgram dose, one gram of of that fentanyl analog ($360 on the internet) can create up to 500,000 dosage units on the street. How far would that $360 investment go? The profit margin and the smuggling pipeline won’t allow for fentanyl to go away.
Fentanyl Safety for Law Enforcement
I have an upcoming webinar at the end of February that will deal with safety procedures for handling fentanyl for law enforcement officers. What you will learn in the webinar: