With the world fighting a deadly pandemic, another heartbreaking public health crisis is raging in North America. A new synthetic drug is killing more than gun crime, homicide and car accidents combined.
100 times stronger than heroin, the deadly opioid fentanyl is cheap, potent and small enough to send in the post. These market forces have seen it replacing the heroin supply, spreading unprecedented death, destruction and misery. And, like all epidemics, it is spreading fast.
The death toll has disproportionately affected the homeless and marginalised. And now, due to its strength and low cost, the drug is also starting to appear in party drugs, such as cocaine and cannabis – with fatal results.
We travel to Vancouver, the epicentre of the fentanyl epidemic to meet with health care workers, activists, fentanyl dealers and people who use it.
We learn of radical initiatives to fight back against a toxic drug supply and ask what the world should expect if the fentanyl epidemic spreads outside of North America.