‘Drop dead’ drug linked to deaths of 10 people in Melbourne

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A deadly drug responsible for killing thousands in the United States is now being linked to the deaths of 10 people in Melbourne with more cases expected to emerge.

Known as the “drop dead” drug, fentanyl is a synthetic painkiller which is so powerful, only a few milligrams can kill.

The 10 overdoses reported in 2015, believed to be involving a suspected mix of heroin and fentanyl, are thought to be the first deaths attributed to the concoction outside of North America, where more than 60,000 people were killed by drugs last year.

The drug is known as the “drop dead”. (9NEWS)The drug is known as the “drop dead”. (9NEWS)Fentanyl is a synthetic painkiller which is so powerful, only a few milligrams can kill. (9NEWS)Fentanyl is a synthetic painkiller which is so powerful, only a few milligrams can kill. (9NEWS)

“It’s very, very strong. We use it in hospitals for anaesthetics and also for chronic pain,” TODAY medical expert Dr Ric Gordon said.

“But there’s a very fine line between the dose you need for good pain relief and something that will suppress, which is what the drug does, respiration.

“If you have it mixed with your heroin or you use it in overdose, the fine line between useful drug and killing drug is very small.”

The 10 overdoses reported in 2015 were believed to be involving a suspected mix of heroin and fentanyl. (9NEWS)The 10 overdoses reported in 2015 were believed to be involving a suspected mix of heroin and fentanyl. (9NEWS)

The dangerous drug could be linked to a large number of overdoses reported in Melbourne last night.

There are fears more cases will occur in Australia with about 30 international fentanyl shipments entering the country in the past 18 months.

There are fears more cases will occur in Australia. (9NEWS)There are fears more cases will occur in Australia. (9NEWS)

[“Source-9news”]