The fentanyl epidemic has been affecting Sweden since 2015. Since April 2015, 369 individuals have died, most of them men in the ages 25–38. The youngest victim is a three-year-old girl. This development has prompted a special effort against the phenomenon at the Intelligence Division of the National Operations Department of the Swedish Police Authority (the NOA Intelligence Division) and is also what prompts the need for this national picture.
Even if the prevalence of fentanyl analogues and the number of users are marginal, the situation is assessed to be the most serious development to date in the Swedish drug market. It is estimated that one in ten users die as a result of intoxication, and in October 2017, a higher number of individuals died of fentanyl toxicity than in road traffic. In addition, the fentanyl group (including the analogues) has surpassed heroin as the most lethal substance. Fentanyl analogues are generally extremely potent (up to 4 000 times as potent as pure heroin) and pose a danger also to individuals other than the users.