Published by NY Times

Medicare officials have announced plans to crack down on prescriptions for opioids in an attempt to limit their use and thus their damage. But making it harder for people to get pain medication legally will most likely drive many to seek relief from far more dangerous and superpotent synthetic opioids. And they are surprisingly easy to obtain.

Recently, out of curiosity, I typed into Google the terms “synthetic opioid and Chinese pharmacy.” Within minutes, I found a website where I could purchase the synthetic opioid carfentanil. For just $750, I could buy 100 grams of the drug, which would be shipped to me “overnight by discreet courier.”

Carfentanil is 100 times more potent than fentanyl, another synthetic opioid that has already hit the streets, and 10,000 times more powerful than morphine. This drug is typically used to sedate large animals, like elephants. It is so dangerous that when veterinarians administer it, they wear gloves and face masks to avoid exposure.