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New synthetic drug furanylfentanyl added to list of banned substances

Furanylfentanyl, a synthetic analog of fentanyl produced in China which has caused a wave of overdoses among drug users in Estonia since May, was added to the country's list of banned substances this week.

North Prefecture narcotics police chief Leho Laur told Estonian daily Postimees (link in Estonian), that as of Monday, the possession of synthetically produced opioid analgesic furanylfentanyl (Fu-F) was finally categorized as a criminal offense.

Since this spring, furanylfentanyl use prompted a wave of overdoses in the capital city of Tallinn that occasionally reached up to five to ten overdoses per day. Paramedics were able to revive most users of the drug, who suffered from either loss of consciousness or respiratory failure, however in four cases use of the drug proved to be deadly.

As furanylfentanyl is pure white in color, dealers attempted to deceive clients by mixing it with other substances such as amphetamine in order to disguise the new substance.

Narcotics police were able to seize the drug from dealers and send it off for analysis, however its possession was not illegal, and so the police would have been required to eventually return the seized amounts, the largest of which was 14 grams, or approximately 420 doses with a street value of 4,200 euros. A two-month delay in analysis, however, means that, with the addition of the drug to the country's list of banned subtances, the seized furanylfentanyl will no longer be returned.

The Estonian State Agency of Medicine's Monday decision to add furanylfentanyl to its list of banned substances will allow police to crack down on import of the drug. Dealers who were caught in possession of it before Monday, however, will go criminally unpunished.

Editor: Editor: Aili Sarapik

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