F20Imagine a serial killer causing 256 deaths in your town—within the first four months of this year. Your place would panic. Your doors would be locked. Windows barred. Your streets would be bare with the cops falling flat-out to find the fiend. Does this sound like a far-fetched plot for the next best-seller? Nope. It’s real. It’s happening right here at home and the killer is known. Her name is Fentanyl. She’s heroin’s deadly little sister.

British Columbians, in Canada, are among the world’s most prolific illicit drug consumers and the B.C. Coroners Service just released some figures. They’re projecting over 800 drug overdose deaths for 2016. Maybe a thousand. Most will involve fentanyl.

Who is this lethal lady? Where does she come from? And why is she suddenly so popular?

F12Fentanyl is a high-potency, rapid-onset synthetic opioid drug prescribed for the treatment of chronic pain. It was developed in the 1950’s as an intravenous anesthetic for surgery and evolved into a breakthrough cancer pain treatment in the form of tablets, lozenges, lollipops, and patches. It’s legal and readily available with a prescription and is listed on the U.S., Canadian, and U.K. Schedules as a controlled drug.

Like heroin and morphine, fentanyl works by binding to the body’s opiate receptors and driving up dopamine levels in the brain’s reward areas, producing a state of euphoria and intense relaxation. That’s all and well when used in moderation and highly effective when properly prescribed.

001But fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times stronger than pharmaceutical grade, 100% pure heroin. It’s also far more available on the street than heroin and the reason is profit. One kilogram of heroin sells in Vancouver for $60,000—if you could find one. One kilo of fentanyl powder goes for $125,000 and is readily available. Not hard to figure out what’s going on.

But with fentanyl being so powerful, the inevitable deaths tag along. The mechanism of death by fentanyl overdose is the same as heroin in that the central nervous system is depressed and respiratory failure occurs. Fentanyl is much quicker than heroin, though. One street source was quoted, “With fentanyl you just hit the ground. Light’s out, that’s it. They don’t know there’s fentanyl in their fix till it’s too late.”

F22The toxicity of all drugs is rated on an LD50 scale, whereas the Lethal Dose of 50 percent of humans occurs at a certain scale which is proportionate to body mass. Fentanyl’s LD50 rating is .03 mcg/kg (micrograms per kilogram). Given that a microgram is .001 of a milligram, this equals an average 70 kilogram (155 pound) person requiring 2.1 mgs of fentanyl to kill them. Some, already tolerant to opioids, require more. Some, with no tolerance, require less. Especially if mixed with other drugs or alcohol.

So why the sudden rise in the availability of fentanyl?

There’ll always be the demand. The answer’s in the supply and the reason’s found on the internet. The digital drug highway. The internet has done to drugs what Amazon has done for books.

F23Ten years ago, when heroin was so popular, it was available from a natural product through a complex delivery system which requires a chain from the country of source—China, Afghanistan, and Vietnam to name a few—through international couriers, middle-men, and street dealers before it ever reached the end-user. The junkie in the alley.

The process of profit required “stepping-on” or “cutting” at every level and, by the time the drug reached the consumer, it was of low purity and the chances of an accidental overdose were slim.

Today’s plentiful purity is what’s killing the customers and it’s not about to change.

002Now you can go online and order any amount of fentanyl—a synthetic and easily mass-produced opioid—you want, as long as your money goes through. Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, and Bitcoin are fine and UPS will deliver it right to your door. Presto, you’re in the illicit drug business.

Don’t believe me?

Well, I tried it out.

I started Google-searching “where to buy fentanyl online without a prescription” and snooped around. Then I hooked-up with a few shadowy and shady, sinister people through email. It’s easy to get information when you’re anonymous and they think you have money. They steered me to the Silk Road Online Pharmacy—the Walmart of internet black market pharmaceuticals. It’s in Karachi, Pakistan. Click here.


I paged through a menu of everything from Molly to Ecstacy to Pure MDMA to Phentermine to LSD to Viagara to Pregnyl to Humatrope. The site is nicely organized in departments with pretty much everything you could be surreptitiously looking for—men’s & women’s health, weight loss, pain-killers, things for ADD/ADHD, stuff for highs, shit for lows, a great selection of steroids, plus lots and lots of research chemicals and powders.

Then I found what I wanted.


F31Abstral is a brand name for a formulation of fentanyl citrate (the salt produced by combining the chemical base for fentanyl with citric acid) and is available as a sublingual tablet—one you dissolve under your tongue and is absorbed in your buccal mucosa to provide rapid analgesia. And it comes with this warning:


Silk Road Pharmacy sells Abstral in two strengths: 400 mcg and 800 mcg. I chose the stronger. There’s more bang for the buck.


They also have a minimum order of 50 tablets so, being a first-time customer, I selected the lesser and clicked “Buy” on my cart. That took me to the checkout page where, for $300.00 plus fifty bucks for shipping and handling, the deal was done through my Mastercard. A client-needs agent by the name of Asha Ali guaranteed delivery to North America within two weeks. He even gave me his email at contact@silkroad.pharmacy.com if there’s a problem.


So, getting back to the not-so-hypothetical Fentanyl serial killer, this is what I’ve calculated. I have 50 – 800 microgram tabs of Abstral on the way. That’s a total of 40 milligrams. If it takes 2.1 mg to kill the average person, then I’ve got enough to do in nineteen people. Fifteen to be sure. Ten at the absolute least.

F33Now, I don’t have anything against anyone in particular so I propose to do this randomly.

What I’ve got in mind is cruising the coffee shops downtown. There’s Starbucks at the mall. The Vault on the corner. Serious Coffee in the conference center. Perkins up the street. And there’s got to be twenty restaurants with three blocks. It’ll be so easy to grind up my e-mail pills and sprinkle the fentanyl powder into momentarily unattended lattes. I might even lace sugar packets.

Hey! Imagine the bars where they’re drinking.

F35Talk about a return on the dollar. That’s under twenty-five bucks a death—the price of five coffees at Starbucks—three beers and a burger at The Palace. The chances of getting caught are practically nil. Random stranger-to-stranger killings are the hardest to solve and the easiest to get away with. Just ask the Chicago Tylenol Poisoner.

Anyway, I have a couple weeks before my precious pills get here—a couple weeks plotting serial kills with fentanyl poisoning. It’s my next novel.

And I’m planning a plot with a random twist that you’ll never see coming… in Deadly Little Sister.


  1. jillian

    Hey Garry:

    I wonder how the government knows about these kinds of websites and they can exist without getting into any legal trouble.

    1. Garry Rodgers Post author

      In free societies, governments are virtually powerless in regulating an international internet. Even China’s communist government can’t keep a lid on it and they try it by being the monoploy service provider. Probably the only one who’s truly successful is North Korea 🙂

  2. Sherry Howard

    Garry, It was so interesting that this popped up on my feed right now. the heroine addicts are no longer lurking in alleys; they’re sitting with us at Starbucks or our dinner tables. Sadly, in much of the US, little old ladies with knee replacement surgery gone bad, have to wait four hours at a seedy pain clinic for help because family practitioners won’t prescribe pain meds. Addicts, on the other hand, can go ANYWHERE to get a quick fix. So many things wrong here. Your book could take many twists and turns on that Silk Road.

    1. Garry Rodgers Post author

      I’m thinking of the sad, sad case in British Columbia where a couple with a two-year-old child went on a weekend getaway and thought they’d do a little recreational cocaine. It was laced with Fentanyl and both died, leaving the child an orphan. Fentanyl is a nasty, nasty drug and it’s so easily available online and on the street. Just wait for when this new W-18 hits. It’s 100 times stronger than Fentanyl. Thanks for commenting, Sherry. The book is already twisting & turning 🙂

  3. Sue Coletta

    Wow. I agree with Diane. This has to be the best way to pre-promote a new book release. It’s so freaky that it’s so easy to get a seriously deadly murder weapon. Love the title, Deadly Sister!

    1. Garry Rodgers Post author

      Actually, I never intended this as a promotion. I got the book idea when I was doing the article. It just jumped out. I’m playing with the title, too. Does “Deadly Little Sister” sound better than “The Deadly Sister”?

      Even though I’ve got a twisted crime-writer’s mind like you, Sue, I’m still going “whooooaaaa” over this internet drug scene. Like, in Canada, gun control is so strict that I need a whack of training, references, and background checks before I can get a firearm and shoot-up the University where I write every day. But I can order opiates online, dump them in the soup cauldron in the U’s cafeteria, and take out twenty+ students. Is something wrong here?

      1. Sue Coletta

        Yup. Something seriously is wrong with this picture. Hmm…Deadly Little Sister implies there’s an older sibling. Whereas The Deadly Sister could be either younger or older. That said, if you’re implying Fentanyl is the sister drug to heroine, you could even go with Silent Deadly Sister, or something along those lines. It’s an interesting concept. Can’t wait to see what you do with it.

  4. Diane

    That is freaking creepy! But I have to say, this is probably one of the best posts I’ve ever seen leading up to a book release. Fantastic way to bring awareness and whet one’s appetite for the book.

    1. Garry Rodgers Post author

      Thanks, Diane. I’ve already started on “Deadly Sister”. I’m aiming for about 45K words which is what “In The Attic” is. I got that one drafted in a month so I’m looking at mid-July for “Deadly Sister” to be ready for beta readers. Anyone interested??

  5. Paul Dale Anderson

    Great article, Gary. Very informative and accurate. I used fentanyl citrate as a type of quick-acting date-rape drug in my novel Deviants. Your post is incredibly timely following the announcement yesterday that Prince likely died from using fentanyl. It is, indeed, a killer.

    1. Garry Rodgers Post author

      Thanks, Paul. Coincidentally, I had the post drafted before the news of Prince’s cause of death. It’s definitely deadly stuff. Just curious if you calculated the dosage of what would be needed to incapacitate but not to kill.

      1. Sue Coletta

        I actually know a bit about Fentanyl. 75mg (time-released, as in patches) wouldn’t be deadly, but would certainly knock someone out. Unless they have a high tolerance to opiates. You’d have to figure out how that translates to instant relief.

        1. Denis Barker

          75 mg is one thousand times the dose found in the transdermal patches. I believe you are referring to the patch that delivers 75 micrograms per hour.

  6. Gippy Adams Henry

    Wow! That is unbelievable to me how easy it is to get drugs on the internet. I must be in la-la land. Strange your blog would come in my email the day after I watched a live meeting here in New Jersey on NJ 101.5 station about how rampant heroin is in Jersey right now. Of course fentanyl and other drugs were mentioned. The governor has set up numerous ways people can get help, and there were three people on there who have been on these drugs–one young girl even began selling them. It’s very scary, especially when there are so many people in pain these days it seems. What is mind-boggling to me is the fact that if you, an author, can go online and easily purchase these kind of drugs, why is law enforcement not all over this and stopping it? Look forward to your book, Garry!

    1. Garry Rodgers Post author

      Hi Gippy! Nice to hear from you 🙂 I think we’re in a totally changed world in international drug trafficking where it’s practically impossible to police the internet. I’ve never been to Pakistan and have no intention of ever going there but I can’t believe that any authorities in countries like that could care less if their products are killing people in North America. So stopping the supply is virtually impossible as is stopping the demand, so the only intervention over here is to intercept the delivery. Good luck on that.

      Oh, by the way, I forgot to mention that the $50 for shipping and handling included a surcharge for “discreet packaging”. Funny, there was no offer of an extended warranty 😉


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