Fentanyl suppliers on the so-called "dark web" are delisting the drug because it's just too dangerous—and tends to attract police attention, the Guardian reports. If true, the move places fentanyl alongside explosives and certain firearms that are too risky for some purveyors to sell. "There are marketplaces that will not accept listings for weapons and explosives—those are the ones that will not accept listings for fentanyl," says Vince O’Brien, a drug-enforcement officer at the National Crime Agency in Britain. "Clearly, law enforcement would prioritize the supply of weapons, explosives and fentanyl over, for example, class C drugs—and that might well be why they do this."
A powerful pain-killer, fentanyl is so dangerous that even a sugar packet of it can kill 500 people, the LA Times reports. The opioid's rising popularity has caused roughly 160 deaths in the UK and many more in America, where nearly 29,000 people died in 2017 from synthetic-opioid-linked overdoses. Police say labs in China are producing fentanyl, which is often processed by Mexican cartels and sold domestically as pills or mixed into heroin and other substances. Some users procure it directly online, where sellers may be getting nervous. Even drug users "on the dark web say on forums that they don't think it's right that people are selling fentanyl because it is dangerous and kills a lot of people," says O'Brien. (A young man gave a teen fentanyl and raped her dead body.)