Sixty people have died in Britain since December after taking the potent painkiller fentanyl, the National Crime Agency revealed today.
The cheap and powerful opiate is 50 times stronger than heroin and is being mixed with illegal drugs by dealers as a way of increasing profits.
The worrying figure came as the mother of a teenager who died after unknowingly taking the drug spoke out.
In November last year teenager Robert Fraser (pictured) was killed after unknowingly taking fentanyl
Michelle Fraser (pictured) said her son had gone to a dealer to buy some cannabis and was given the wrapped 'packet of 'white powder' to try
In November last year teenager Robert Fraser died after unknowingly taking fentanyl.
His mother has now spoken out about his death that happened just after his 18th birthday.
Michelle Fraser, from Deal in Kent, told Channel 5 news that Robert had gone to a dealer to buy some cannabis and was given the wrapped 'packet of 'white powder' to try.
Ms Fraser said: 'The guys that sold them the cannabis just said to them "try it, it's similar to MDMA".
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic, originally created for surgery recovery and treatment of short term pain.
It is similar to morphine, but is 50-100 times more potent.
Although fentanyl is abused as a substance in its own right, it is more commonly detected as an additive in heroin.
In recent years it has grown in prevalence across North America and Europe and now appears to have entered the UK heroin market.
'He was poisoned and he was taken away from everyone and everything that he loved.
'I wish I could've just told him."
The National Crime