Synthetic drugs have always had a prominent presence in the drug market and with the advent of the dark web, their popularity has continued to grow.
The latest subject of the DEA’s attention is opiate U-47700, a synthetic opiate purported to be responsible for 46 deaths this year alone.
The demand for opiates is seemingly growing in the US and overseas laboratories have been doing everything they can to supply the growing market.
The DEA’s reaction to place the dangerous synthetic opiate on schedule 1 controlled substance is without a doubt a measure that is being put in place to control the increasing opiate abuse in the United States.
Users Buy the Opiate without Their Knowledge
The scheduling took effect last November 14 and will be in place for the next 24 months. The DEA will also have the option of extending the scheduling for an additional 12 months, depending on the response to the scheduling.
More than anything, it seems like the DEA are simply looking to stop the deaths from opiate abuse, whether they are as a result of abusing the substance or poorly cut counterfeits of the synthetic opiate.
What is known is that most of the abusers of opiate U-47700 are none the wiser since dealers are purportedly selling it as heroin or using the opiate to cut their product.
In addition to the directly illicit drug trade, opiate U-47700 has established a presence in most of the fake pharmaceutical drugs in circulation—something that has been greatly facilitated by the opiate’s ability to be compressed into pills.
In just a span of 11 months, the opiate has been mentioned in 88 forensic reports to the DEA.
In the same amount of time, opiate U-47700 has also been responsible for thirty-one deaths in New York and an estimated ten deaths in North Carolina.
The DEA explained in detail all the dangerous effects of opiate U-47700 in their Final Order on the Federal Registry.
Strong Opiate Presence in the Dark Web Contributed Heavily to the Scheduling
Synthetic drugs of all types and forms have always been present on the dark web drug marketplaces.
A number of vendors have been arrested in connection with the trafficking of the drugs in this year’s extensive dark web drug bust operations, which also saw the takedown of a drug ring that was found with three kilograms of fentanyl, a synthetic opiate that had allegedly been obtained from the dark net markets.
Shortly after, the dark web forums were abuzz once again with the arrest of an AlphaBay market vendor known as “owlcity” after he unwittingly sold synthetic opiates to undercover law enforcement agents.
Such was the intensity of the crackdown on synthetic opiate U-47700 and others that one dark net market decided to completely ban the sale of synthetic opiates on the website.
Other dark net markets, concerned with the upsurge of deaths resulting from synthetic opiates took the liberty of warning their users after three samples of heroin obtained from European countries either had traces of the synthetic opiate substances or were entirely synthetic.
Tests conducted by the British Harm Reduction Project, Wedinos, also confirmed that a massive percentage of the heroin from the dark web was completely synthetic or was cut using a synthetic opiate.
The presence of a synthetic opiate in heroin is apparently one of the biggest contributors to overdosing. Figures point out that there has been a 632 % increase of deaths from drug overdose in Philadelphia, PA. which have been directly linked to a synthetic opiate.
A man in Belgium also died in 2015 when he overdosed on a synthetic opiate substance that had been sold to him as heroin. Energy Control has stepped forward with an International Drug Testing Service which will focus on testing the purity of these substances.