Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences News

Killer Opioid Fentanyl Could Be a Weapon of Mass Destruction

Dec. 12, 2018, 2:13 PM

It would take only 118 pounds of fentanyl to kill 25 million people.

Illustration: Joseph P. Kelly

That’s how much of the powerful opioid painkiller Nebraska State Trooper Sam Mortensen found in April when he stopped a truck marked “U.S. Mail” swerving onto the shoulder along Interstate 80.

Rolling up the trailer door revealed an empty hold. But just below a refrigeration unit, behind a plastic panel secured with mismatched bolts, Mortensen found 42 brick-shaped packages, weighing 54 kilograms, full of fentanyl. The drug is so potent that even a small amount — the equivalent of a few grains of salt — can...

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