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Australia braces for opioids threat as mass amounts of fentanyl set to hit our shores

Chinese-made drugs 100 times stronger than morphine flood Australia as authorities warn the country is on the cusp of a deadly new opioids crisis which could kill 70,000 people a year

  • Authorities warned synthetic opioids are being mailed in mass to Australia
  • Drugs such as fentanyl are being manufactured in China and sent overseas
  • Fentanyl is about 100 times more powerful than morphine but more dangerous
  • In 2016, as many as 1,045 people died from opioid overdose in the country

Authorities have warned Australia to prepare for a new threat from overseas as the country continues its war on drugs.

Cheap synthetic opioids such as fentanyl – which is 100 times stronger than morphone – are being manufactured in China and sneaking past border control through the mail.

Australian National University professor Roderic Broadhurst warned purchasing the drugs was as easy as buying a book online, The Australian reported

He said buyers were using the dark web – a hidden part of the internet where weapons and illicit drugs can be purchased – to buy the synthetic opioids and ordering them to be delivered straight to their home. 

‘Australia is a good market, because Australians pay a premium for drugs,’ he said.

Fentanyl is a prescription drug that is used to treat pain and is about 100 times stronger than morphine.

Cheap, synthetic opioids – such as fentanyl – are being manufactured in China and sneaking past border control through the mail (stock image)

The margin between prescription use and abuse is so small that users are at a higher risk of overdose.

Production comes at a fraction of the price of other painkillers and producers can make millions of dollars from as little as a $5,000 investment. 

According to the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at UNSW, 1,045 Australians died from opioid overdose in 2016.

Senior US State Department official Kirsten Madison noted the situation was much worse in America.

About 70,000 Americans a year die from opioid overdoses every year – more than three times the overdose rate in 1999. 

What is fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a prescription drug that is used to treat pain and is about 100 times stronger than morphine.

The margin between prescription use and abuse is so small that users are at a higher risk of overdose. 

In Australia, fentanyl is most commonly prescribed through a patch.

Drug abusers extract the drug from the patch before injecting themselves with the chemical.

According to the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at UNSW, 1,045 Australians died from opioid overdose in 2016.

America has already declared the opioid crisis a national health emergency, as about 70,000 people die a year from opioid related overdoses.  

 

In 2017, US president Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency. 

Ms Madison noted that China was the main importer of fentanyl-style illicit drugs to the country. 

Though the overwhelming rate of overdoses had put pressure on China to properly classify all fentanyl-related compounds leaving the country for the US. 

Ms Madison noted that while Australia had been able to avoid its own public health emergency on the matter, the country was increasingly under threat from the synthetic drug. 

In Australia, fentanyl is most commonly prescribed through a patch.

Drug abusers extract the drug from the patch before injecting themselves with the chemical.

Though users are more likely to misjudge the dosage and at higher risk of an overdose.

An extra $2 million has already been directed into the Australian Border Force as authorities attempt to crack down on the amount of synthetic opioids making its way into the country.  

‘Few crimes compare to the trade in illicit drugs as a source of profit for organised crime groups and for harm to our communities,’ Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said. 

According to the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at UNSW, 1,045 Australians died from opioid overdose in 2016

According to the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at UNSW, 1,045 Australians died from opioid overdose in 2016

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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