Reports from the US of the chaos, and deaths, that the fentanyl epidemic is causing.
Small-scale drug labs are cropping up around the country, as budding home-brew traffickers discover how easy it is to manufacture pills using synthetic opioids to meet a skyrocketing demand. Law enforcement says the phenomenon threatens to atomize the illicit narcotics trade, adding a troubling new dimension for authorities already strained trying to halt larger-scale drug gangs.
Abuse of opioids, including prescription drugs, heroin and synthetic narcotics like fentanyl, has reached crisis proportions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said more than 28,000 people died from opioid-related overdoses in 2014, the last year of nationwide data, more than double the total from a decade earlier.
Opioids mimic opiates but do not rely upon anything to do with the poppy as a precursor. You'd need to be a good chemist to produce fentanyl entirely from non-controlled substances but it is indeed possible. Thus all that malarkey about controlling borders doesn't work with this.
Further, the gap between a good high and a dose that kills is remarkably narrow. And finally of course, people are using it to produce what look like Oxycontin and other opiates, hugely less powerful and dangerous drugs.
Thus it's easy enough to make illegally, doesn't have to be smuggled across borders and almost never arrives in carefully controlled doses. Oh, and, as above, it's poisonous very quickly in ever so slightly too large a dose.
We could, of course, say that we should just jail everyone and check everything. Which is what we try to to do today and it obviously doesn't work. The other solution is to legalise all of this and thus have a market in clean, portion controlled, drugs.
Whether that's acceptable to you will of course depend upon what it is about all of this that bothers you. People getting high or people getting dead? We're worried about and against the second and quite frankly couldn't give two hoots about the first. Except for that basic civil liberty of people being allowed to toot whatever it is they want to.
Thus we are for the legalisation in order to curb the dropping dead problem. Sadly all too many other people seem to be worried about the other people enjoying themselves problem.