Drug 100 times stronger than heroin arrives in Britain and causes six deaths

Martin Evans
Fentanyl was blamed for the death of the pop star Prince year  - PA

A synthetic opioid that is 100 times more powerful than heroin is being added to batches of the street drug and is thought to have claimed the lives of at least six addicts in recent weeks.

Fentanyl - which was blamed for the death of the pop star Prince year - and carfentanyl has been detected in heroin that is being sold in the north of England.

The National Crime Agency and West Yorkshire Police raided a laboratory suspected of producing fentanyl and carfentanyl on Monday.

The NCA said only a tiny dose of these could be fatal when added to a regular heroin deal and there have been a spate of deaths among addicts in the north east in recent weeks.

Last week a  picture of a mother from Canada holding her dying son, who had overdosed after taking a tiny amount of fentanyl, went viral after she released it online to highlight the danger.

Tony Saggers, head of drugs threat and intelligence at the National Crime Agency, said:  "We have taken the unusual step of appealing to people to be vigilant. First, because whilst initial toxicology revealed fentanyl analogues  in a small number of these deaths, specific re-testing has started to indicate that the influence of fentanyl is greater than first suspected."

"Second, the NCA’s operation with West Yorkshire Police to locate and disrupt an illicit drugs laboratory during the last 72 hours has indicated that it may be a source for the production of fentanyl and other analogues.

"In particular we now believe UK customers beyond the north east region are likely to have received consignments of these drugs."

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