Deaths from opioids bought online under investigation


Three people in East Flanders have died recently following the use of opioids purchased online

Potent pain relief

The prosecutor’s office in East Flanders has begun an investigation into three deaths in recent months, all linked to the use of new forms of drugs bought online. Two cases concerned opioids, and a third a hallucinogen related to PCP.

The term opioid refers to the synthetic form of opiates, or drugs derived from opium, such as morphine and heroin. Opioids are used recreationally but also medically for pain relief. 

The latest appearance concerns the drug U-47700, going by the names acrylfentanyl and ocfentanil. Two deaths were reported in East Flanders in early May; one man had sniffed acrylfentanyl, while another injected a mixture of ocfentanil, caffeine and paracetamol.

Then last month a Ghent man was found dead after apparently sniffing the drug 3-MeO-PCP, a hallucinogen related to the drug PCP, also known as angel dust. The Belgian Early Warning System on Drugs had previously issued a warning about online sellers of new forms of psychoactive drugs, known to be extremely potent and dangerous. 

“We can confirm that an investigation is under way, triggered by the warning issued,” said a spokesperson for the Ghent prosecutor’s office. “We can provide no further information for the time being on the details of the case, in the interest of the ongoing investigation.”

Photo: Ingimage