Several dark web sellers voluntarily stop the distribution of the synthetic opioid fentanyl. This decision was made to avoid a police crackdown.
The National Crime Agency revealed that the high-strength painkiller, which is 100 times stronger than heroin, have been branded as a "high risk" commodity, lumping it alongside mass-casualty firearms and explosives.
Fentanyl Removed From Dark Web Marketplace
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdoses killed more than 70,000 people in the United States in 2017. Fentanyl overdose accounted for more than 45 percent of those deaths.
However, the NCA does not think that dark web drug dealers wanted to join the fight against the opioid problem in the United States, Canada, and other places around the world. Vince O'Brien, one of the agency's drug investigators, believes that the product has been delisted by most sellers because it can easily lead to accidental overdose.
"If they've got people selling very high-risk commodities then it's going to increase the risk to them. There are marketplaces that will not accept listings for weapons and explosives — those are the ones that will not accept listings for fentanyl," he explained. "Clearly, law enforcement would prioritize the supply of weapons, explosives and fentanyl over, for example, class C drugs — and that might well be why they do this."
The authorities have already made arrests in the UK last year, including a 25-year-old man from Newport. The purchase and use of fentanyl caused 160 deaths in the United Kingdom in 2017.
The Fentanyl Problem
The increase in drug overdoses in the United States has contributed to the reduction of life expectancy of Americans in the past three years, a pattern unprecedented for a developed nation. Drug overdose is now one of the leading causes of death for American adults under the age of 55.
In October 2017, U.S. President Donald J. Trump declared that the ongoing opioid crisis is now a national public health emergency. In March, the White House launched CrisisNextDoor.gov, a website that aims to share real-life stories of people who are affected by the opioid crisis.
Public health officials warned that anyone who takes opioids, even those that were prescribed by doctors, can become addicted to the drug. The CDC revealed that one in four patients undergo long-term opioid therapy for opioid addiction.