Fentanyl alert: Ibiza's municipalities are already preparing against the 'zombie' drug. | Irene Arango

Agents of the Sant Josep Local Police received this Thursday the Fentanyl Alert training, a talk-workshop focused on knowing the effects of this powerful opiate and demystify the effects of the intoxication of this drug. Specifically, the course, which is part of the continuous police training plan, originated as a result of the dissemination on social networks of videos in the United States where police officers collapse when they come into contact with this new and dangerous substance by air. «We have demystified this hoax; we have taken the fear out of our bodies and the officers are seeing that they do not collapse if they attend to someone with fentanyl intoxication», said José Antonio Granados, head of the Sant Josep local police.

Fentanyl has caused an unprecedented health crisis in the United States and it is now common to find thousands of videos on social networks showing the effect of this strong substance and how its users come to look like «zombies». It is a drug 100 times more potent than heroin, and has been used for decades in hospital settings in a highly regulated manner. "Fentanyl is a very powerful sedative that produces a level of unconsciousness in the user.

When consumption is prolonged or in high doses, it can cause respiratory arrest," said Daniel Ausín, health director and CEO of Ibiza Nurse Service, the company in charge of providing the training to Sant Josep's local police officers. In the event of an overdose, Ausín says that it is usual to administer an intranasal or intravenous dose of naloxone, a drug used to alleviate opiate intoxication.


In this sense, the symptomatology of fentanyl use is very different from other drugs, such as MDMA, cocaine or GHB, also known as liquid ecstasy. «Fentanyl produces a state of disconnection and rest in the user. It is normally used to relieve severe chronic pain,» said the CEO of Ibiza Nurse Service. Its ingestion, which can be virtually any way, either intravenously, intranasally or swallowed, produces a state of sedation and extreme bliss, accompanied by spasms and involuntary movements.

Its arrival in Spain, and specifically in Ibiza, does not yet seem to be a reality, despite the fact that a few weeks ago a box of this potent opiate was detected in Palma, which was later clarified to be legally prescribed drugs. «We do not foresee the situation in the United States occurring for the moment in Spain, nor in the Balearic Islands,» Granados said, adding that this new drug is mainly used in marginal environments and its use is not recreational, as in the case of other drugs consumed in Ibiza. «In Europe the consumption of illegal fentanyl is almost isolated and in Spain the regulation for its use and the pharmaceutical regulations are very strict,» said Ausín.

However, the fear of the island's health services and police force is that it will be introduced 'mixed' with other known drugs. «We are already seeing substances such as speedball, which combines depressants (heroin) with stimulants (cocaine). Within the black market, we do not rule out detecting fentanyl together with other substances,» Granados pointed out. This is the case of tusi or pink cocaine, which Ibiza Service claims that one summer they «had suspicions» that a dose of this substance was mixed with fentanyl, but it never materialised and was never seen again in Ibiza.