Is the rise in fentanyl deaths a sign of things to come?
Fentanyl is in the headlines once again, as a new inquest probes six overdose deaths against a background of escalating opiate abuse.
Pharmaceutical opioid overdoses have overtaken heroin overdoses and now account for a quarter of all drug-related deaths in Australia.
There is some irony here because it seems people with heroin dependence have been switching to fentanyl, deeming the fixed doses safer than street heroin.
Illicit use of fentanyl is already well-entrenched in the US, which now offers a grim vision of a possible future for Australia.