The drug Fentanyl was created almost 60 years ago as a painkiller. There is no doubt it works – it’s 50 times stronger than heroin. But as well as being dangerously potent it’s highly addictive, and has transformed from painkiller to plain killer. In the United States a national emergency has been declared because of an epidemic of fatal Fentanyl overdoses – which include entertainment icons Prince and Tom Petty. And it’s the ease of access to the drug – in America and now Australia – that is largely responsible. Addicts don’t need to meet a dodgy dealer in an alleyway to get a hit. They simply make an appointment with their local GP and ask for a prescription.
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