Ohio has been the state hit the hardest with 343 confirmed seizures of the illicit drug. Global News Canada is reporting that a number of seizures have been made in several provinces and health officials said that last month, the deaths of two people were linked to carfentanil.
According to the Associated Press, over 407 confirmed seizures of the weapons-grade chemical have been made but there are no details on the quantities seized.
As reported in October by Digital Journal, an AP investigation revealed that carfentanil use in the U.S. and Canada is fueled by a thriving trade out of China. The report also found that the illicit drug can be easily purchased on the Internet.
The AP identified 12 Chinese businesses that said they would export carfentanil to the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium and Australia for as little as $2,750 a kilogram (2.2 pounds). Of those 12 businesses, three have stopped since the report, but four new companies have taken their place, including some that claim to have a U.S. address.
Jilin Tely Import and Export Co. initially bragged that carfentanil was a “hot sales product.” But after being named in the AP investigation, the website mysteriously disappeared from the Internet, and when contacted, they denied ever making carfentanil.
These vendors make their big bucks through a loophole in the global regulation of a substance that has been described as a chemical weapon, and that is exactly what it is. It is 5,000 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than fentanyl, yet it is so toxic that even inhaling a pinch of the powder can kill a person.
The results of the carfentanil surge in the U.S. is devastating and sad. In July, Health officials in Akron, Ohio recorded 236 overdoses, including 14 fatalities in 21 days. In September, the Cincinnati, Ohio Coroner’s office reported eight deaths due to carfentanil overdose.
But here’s the really bad part of this problem. We actually don’t know how many overdose deaths are related to carfentanil because there are very few laboratories in the U.S. and Canada capable of even testing for the drug.