The NCA has produced a briefing document for IT, social media & content hosting companies who may have concerns about their platforms being used or exploited for the illicit advertising of fentanyl analogues. It says that the information is being shared by the NCA to help develop understanding of the threat posed by the clearnet advertising and sale of fentanyl analogues. It explains that fentanyl analogues are synthetic opioids that are widely used as pain medication and in anaesthetics across health services all around the world including the UK. They are considered to be particularly effective as pain relief and prescribed generally for chronic pain conditions or palliative care. Fentanyl is the ‘parent’ of the family with numerous other analogues in the tree, for example, carfentanil, methoxyacetylfentanyl, furanylfentanyl or remifentanil. Whilst fentanyl analogues are legitimately used in medical fields the analogues have also been appropriated for use in illicit drugs across the world with extremely harmful effects. Within the UK fentanyl analogues are classified as Class A Controlled Drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The briefing says how companies can assist the NCA. The NCA has identified words and phrases used in advertisements for fentanyl analogues and companies are invited to use these or generate their own lists to search for content.
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