Why Europe has dodged America's fentanyl crisis

Europe's most lucrative heroin markets seem ripe for a fentanyl takeover. But why the no-show?
Vice (US)
Thursday, February 7, 2019

afghanistan opium harvestA perfect storm of conditions over the last decade led to the current fentanyl epidemic in the US. It began with rising social deprivation and excessive opioid prescribing by doctors, leading to mounting addiction. Then came a crackdown on over-prescribing and a surge in demand for street heroin, which at the time happened to be poor quality and in short supply. In order to meet demand, heroin suppliers were boosted with the addition of fentanyl imported from China. Apart from its better management of prescription drugs, perhaps Europe's unsuspecting saviour from fentanyl is its historical nemesis, Afghanistan. Unlike in the US, regional heroin distributors in Europe have had a stable supply of high purity, low-cost heroin for nine years running.