Why is Fentanyl in Cocaine?
People think this is part of some evil agenda to secretly get more customers addicted. No. This is the direct result of prohibition markets.
There is a Part II to this post here.
Last Sunday, the Wall Street Journal, ran a huge feature story about three “high achieving” New Yorkers who ordered cocaine from the same phone-order delivery service. A social worker, a finance executive, and a young lawyer all died from fentanyl overdoses after placing their cocaine order. According to the unsealed criminal complaint, the cocaine had a mix of fentanyl and acetylfentanyl in it, which are potent synthetic opioids that an unsuspecting user has little tolerance for.
The Journal’s reporting, based on the complaint and numerous interviews, offers a vivid account of these people’s lives just before they died. But neither the complaint nor the story answers the central question on everybody’s mind: Why is there fentanyl in cocaine?
Since this story came out, multiple people have sent me DMs and emails asking: What the fuck? Why would “dealers” do this to their customers? What business sense does this make?
The government wants to charge the people they say are involved in this delivery service with running a narcotics conspiracy that resulted in death. “In the course of a single day, the defendants’ Delivery Service caused the deaths of three unrelated victims in Manhattan by selling the victims purported cocaine that was, in fact, laced with fentanyl,” the complaint reads.
There’s a subtle thing I picked up on here. The government says the Delivery Service indeed sold the cocaine “laced” with fentnayl. But they do not say, nor am I aware that they are alleging, that the Delivery Service did the actual lacing. And that’s what I want to zoom in on here: 1) At what level in the supply chain was the fentanyl mixed into cocaine? and 2) Why is this happening?
To be sure, I have not investigated this specific Manhattan Delivery Service. I have not spoken to the people alleged to have been running the service. Based on reading the court affadavit, various news stories, and other reporting I’ve done about the dynamics of the drug supply, all I can do is speculate about what happened here. Below, I make clear when I’m pulling facts from the criminal complaint and when I’m offering my own speculation.
The events I’m writing about ocurred during March 2021.
Why do dealers add fentanyl to cocaine?
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