Drug dealers in the US and Canada have been cutting cocaine with the super-strong opioid fentanyl - causing a spate of deaths, police have said.
Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, can be as much as 100 times stronger than morphine, and first hit headlines after it was being mixed with heroin and sold to unsuspecting punters.
Following a wave of overdoses believed to be attributed to the drug, police in Canada have made the unprecedented move of publishing one dealer's number on Facebook, urging potential 'customers' to avoid him.
Saskatoon Police Department took to Twitter to share a post in which it said: "Saskatoon Police Service is appealing to members of the public if you have purchased cocaine from a dealer which goes by the name 'Lil Joe', 'Joe Bro' or have made contact with the dealer with the cellular number 306-881-7300 that the dosage of cocaine you have purchased might be laced with Fentanyl and has the possibility of being a lethal dose."
Public Safety Advisory-Numerous Overdose Emergency Response Calls- UPDATE https://t.co/yBo3SU88sq
- Saskatoon Police (@SaskatoonPolice) March 12, 2018
Over in the UK, fentanyl has also been linked to a number of deaths, including 18-year-old Robert Fraser from Kent. His mum Michelle, told the BBC that Robert was given the drug by a dealer when he and his pals has gone to buy cannabis. She told the news outlet that she is convinced her teenage son had no idea what it was or how dangerous it can be.
"Fentanyl is a killer and the drug dealers are playing Russian Roulette with our lives... my child died from it," she said.
A string of overdoses in the north east of England were also linked to the drug, when dealers began mixing fentanyl with heroin in order to increase the amount of money they could make. This often deadly cocktail was then sold to street-users who had no idea what they were buying. At least six people died in Teeside during the beginning of 2017 as a result.
According to figures from the National Crime Agency, since 2016 at least 113 people have died because of fentanyl.
Laurence Gibbons the NCA's head of drugs threat told the BBC: "We have a number of officers working solely on that threat and they will continue monitoring and we will keep a good watch on what is emerging."
Featured Image Credit: PA
- Australian drug testing clinic discovers 40% of ‘cocaine’ submissions contained no cocaine
- Extremely honest drug dealer pays price for telling police there's 'loads of coke’ in his boot
- Man is being compared to Walter White after growing a drug empire post leukaemia diagnosis
- Two Men Arrested After Police Find Enough Fentanyl To Kill 4.7 Million People