illicit fentanyl

As if fentanyl isn't bad enough, a series of opioid receptor agonists called nitazines is making its way into the street drug supply. But is this because the chemicals used to make fentanyl are now more difficult to obtain? It's certainly possible, if not likely. Organic chemists are nothing if not versatile.
Two decades after the advent of date rape drugs we now have something conceptually similar but worse. Gangs in New York are using fentanyl to incapacitate bar patrons and then robbing them. This is worse than it sounds. Deaths from incapacitation by date rape drugs were rare; those from fentanyl are not.
Wanna hear something crazy? Fentanyl test strips are FDA-approved to quickly test for the presence of the dangerous drug in the urine in overdose cases. They can also be used to check for fentanyl in street drugs and counterfeit pills. But in more than 40 states, this is illegal (!). Why? Because they are considered to be drug paraphernalia. Seriously. Good luck finding any policy or law dumber than this.
The DEA just issued a Public Safety Alert about the presence of deadly doses of illicit fentanyl in counterfeit pills, something that has been known for years. Why the delay? Dr. Jeffrey Singer of the Cato Institute (and an ACSH advisor) explains.