On Security

The Fentanyl Epidemic Will Spread Far Beyond America's Shores

Scott Stewart
VP of Tactical Analysis, Stratfor
Jul 16, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
A kit is seen next to the sink of a Walmart bathroom in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Feb. 10, 2019, after a woman was caught trying to shoot either heroin or fentanyl.

A kit is seen next to the sink of a Walmart bathroom in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Feb. 10, 2019, after a woman was caught trying to shoot either heroin or fentanyl. The drug is easy to make, smuggle and sell.

(SALWAN GEORGES/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

For many, fentanyl is a uniquely American problem -- one that primarily stems from the over-prescription of opioids to treat pain symptoms. Others may consider it to be a North American issue, as Canada has also been hit hard by the scourge. Indeed, powerful organized crime groups, especially ones in Mexico, have recognized the potential for vast profits in the fentanyl trade in the two countries. But closer inspection reveals a growing ripple in the use of fentanyl (a term I use generically to refer not only to fentanyl itself but also to carfentanyl and other fentanyl-related substances) across the globe. At present, the phenomenon outside the United States and Canada remains tied to sales on the dark web and supplies that arrive by mail, but the same factors that have made fentanyl attractive to Mexican cartels will also make it appealing to other organized crime groups around the world,...

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