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From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Ilegal Fentenyl
Date: 03 Jun 1997
Newsgroups: alt.drugs,alt.drugs.psychedelics,rec.drugs.misc,

In <> (John
French) writes:

>I wont respond to all of the original points, since i agree with
>Hillary on all of them, but i will expand on the last one. Virtually
>ALL of the deaths attributed to fentanyl in the last 7 years have been
>the result of one illicit chemist who was manufacturing it for street
>sales in the northeast US for organized crime, presenting it as "good
>heroin." Thats what caused the Tango & Cash episode in north jersey
>and new york, which killed 20, and a couple of months later, 30 in
>baltimore, and then another 30 in philadelphia.  In 1995 there were
>126 deaths attributed to this guy's drug! He is now in prison for
> In all cases, it was fetanyl hydrochloride, which is not manufactured
>by the pharmaceutical industry anywhere, and was improperly compounded
>to be about 50 times more potent than appropriate (to mimic heroin,
>the goal of the sellers). But it is true that pharmaceutical fetanyl
>does occasionally cause death, as do aspirin and alcohol, in far far
>greater numbers.
>Given that fentanyl is a very effective and powerful narcotic, the FDA
>and the hospital industry are to be commended for ensuring that it is
>so well protected from diversion to the street drug market. However,
>let us not disturb this guy's argument with too many facts  :)
>john french

  So long as we are sticking to facts, we should note that the
hydrochloride rather than the citrate makes no big difference in
effect-- it's just a marker for who made the drug.

   Heroin is only twice as potent as morphine.   Fentenyl is 40 times
as potent as heroin, so the problem here is that the fentenyl wasn't
cut, not that somebody was trying to mimic heroin.

    There is nothing about fentenyl which makes it inherently a more
dangerous drug than heroin, or for that matter, morphine.  It just has
a different dose (and a shorter duration of action).  The danger is to
people who don't know this.  Teaching people how to use a new drug is
usually done by advertising and drug reps and pharmacists and doctors,
and in the case of recreational drugs, the Feds have effectively
outlawed all of that.  So is it the chemists' fault that people died?
Or the feds who know very well that outlawing education, and financial
incentives for it, will kill narcotics users?  Morphine and fentenyl,
after all, are used all the time by cancer patients and the families
that take care of them.  Few people overdose.  Overdose is caused by
illicitness, not by some magical property of narcotics.  For all I know
this chemist guy told everybody how to use fentenyl, and they ignored
him.  His main problem was that unlike the tobacco and alcohol and
legal drug lobbies, he didn't have enough congressmen in his pocket to
have his trade declared a national economic right, with stock opinons
                                             Steve Harris, M.D.

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