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Growing concerns about Fentanyl

January 06, 2020

Last Friday (3 January 2020) the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) published a new report on the Misuse of Fentanyl (and Fentanyl analogues). As many readers will know, Fentanyl is a licensed medicine used for anaesthesia and pain management. Like morphine, heroin, codeine and other ‘opioid’ drugs, fentanyl and compounds with similar chemical structures (fentanyl analogues) may be subject to non-medical use (misuse). This may involve the diversion of licensed medicinal fentanyl or fentanyl analogues, or the use of illicitly manufactured material. These very potent compounds have already been implicated in large numbers of deaths amongst drug users in the United States (US) and Canada. There is an ongoing risk of illicit fentanyls increasingly infiltrating the illicit opioid market in the UK, with consequent increases in drug-related deaths that could be substantial.