Crime, Estonia, Latvia, Legislation

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Saturday, 19.10.2019, 13:45

Fentanyl users forced to buy substance from Latvia due to scarce availability in Estonia

BC, Tallinn, 03.07.2019.Print version
Two years after groups of fentanyl traffickers were arrested, the first known fentanyl lab was shut down and close to ten kilograms of fentanyl were confiscated from the criminals, the substance is so difficult to locate in Estonia that it has to be smuggled from Latvia, according Postimees information reports LETA/BNS.

With fentanyl becoming a deficit substance in Estonia, the number of deaths resulting from drug overdose has decreased. Over the first five months of 2019, the Forensic Science Institute has recorded 17 deaths from drug overdose, five of which were caused by fentanyl. During the first months of 2017 the numbers stood at 46 and 35, respectively.

Both State Prosecutor Vahur Verte and Rait Pikaro, head of service at the office for criminal investigation of the North Prefecture of the Police and Border Guard Board, said that the demand for fentanyl currently exceeds the supply. Pikaro noted that even though access to fentanyl exists, it is nevertheless not being sold systematically at least for now. [Fentanyl] users have no other option but to smuggle it from Latvia; the first signals of a change in the chain of supply were picked up in early winter of 2017.

Verte said, however, that the situation has not triggered any fentanyl tourism so far and the amounts bought from Latvia generally do not exceed a few doses.

The state prosecutor pointed out that Latvia, too, has declared war on fentanyl, the effect of which can also be felt in Estonia. The Latvian criminal police in April detained seven individuals and confiscated over ten kilograms of carfentanil, a structural analog around hundred times stronger than fentanyl and thousands of times stronger than heroin. The risk of overdose is much higher with carfentanil due to the high concentration of the substance.

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