One of the strongest opioids in circulation – which can also be used as a chemical weapon – is being offered openly for sale online from China, an investigation has discovered. Carfentanil is so deadly an amount smaller than a poppy seed can kill a person, and until July, when reports of overdoses began to surface in the US, it was best known for knocking out moose and elephants.
Despite the dangers, Chinese vendors offer to sell carfentanil for worldwide export, no questions asked, an Associated Press investigation found. AP identified 12 Chinese businesses that said they would export carfentanil to the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Belgium and Australia for as little as 2,750 US dollars (£2,230) a kilogramme.
Carfentanil burst into view this summer as the latest scourge in an epidemic of opioid abuse that has killed tens of thousands in the US alone. In China, the leading global source of synthetic drugs, carfentanil is not a controlled substance. The US government is pressing the Chinese to blacklist it, but Beijing has yet to act. Read more