Synthetic opioid Fentanyl claims first overdose victim in the Czech Republic

On Thursday, police charged the man who provided a Fentanyl patch to the 36-year-old woman with murder. The man faces close to 18 years in prison. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 22.09.2023 09:49:00 (updated on 22.09.2023) Reading time: 1 minute

The synthetic opioid fentanyl, which has caused tens of thousands of overdose deaths in the U.S., has now appeared in the Czech Republic and claimed its first victims, according to a report from CNN Prima News.

"Fentanyl is 100 times stronger than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin," Czech anti-drug drug coordinator Jindřich Vobořil told CNN.

Originally developed to treat severe pain in cancer patients, the drug's extreme potency and addictive potential have made it ideal for illegal production and sale.

In the Czech Republic, fentanyl is only available with a doctor's prescription. It is given in the form of patches. Unlike morphine, the drug doesn't have to be administered several times a day; one patch is enough for several days.

"Users who try to obtain fentanyl illegally in the Czech Republic boil used patches in order to extract the substance from them. Micro doses remain there, and that's enough," Vobořil said.

The anti-drug coordinator warned that fentanyl is often mixed with other drugs, raising overdose risks.

"It's being pushed by the pharmaceutical industry, and in the U.S. the drug was too available, so it quickly went on the black market. It's easier to smuggle and store," he said.

While the U.S. faces a major crisis, Vobořil said the Czech Republic is managing to keep overdose deaths low so far.

However, fentanyl has already claimed its first victims in the country. In June, a 36-year-old woman in Zlín died after buying used fentanyl patches from a man for CZK 500.

"He illegally distributed a narcotic substance. She applied the patches and died of fentanyl poisoning," the police said in a statement Thursday.

The man now faces up to almost two decades in prison. Vobořil warns that minimal amounts can cause death and urges attention to the growing threat.

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