Police worried as elephant sedative hits drug market

Stock image.
Stock image.

THE Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission says it is working to prevent market expansion of a highly potent opioid designed for sedating large animals such as elephants and rhinos.

An ACIC spokeswoman said the commission has identified a small carfentanil market in Australia, supplied by domestic and overseas entities, normally through the internet and darkweb.

“Carfentanil is an analog of the synthetic opioid analgesic fentanyl,” she said.

“A unit of carfentanil is 100 times as potent as the same amount of fentanyl, 5,000 times as potent as a unit of heroin, and 10,000 times as potent as a unit of morphine.

“ACIC is very concerned that this high risk market exists at all in Australia and is working with partners to prevent the market from expanding.”

An Australian Border Force spokesman said carfentanil had caused a large number of deaths globally in recent years, particularly in the United States and Canada.

“The ABF has also implemented a range of enhanced safety measures to protect our officers who have the challenging role of detecting and managing attempted imports of these drugs,” he said.

“Even contact with a small amount of these substances can be extremely dangerous.

A 19-year-old Perth woman was jailed earlier this year for nine months for importing over 120 milligrams of carfentanil into Australia.