Fentanyl analogs on the Swedish webforum flashback: Interest and impact of scheduling

Kim Moeller*, Bengt Svensson, Rasmus Munksgaard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Sweden regulates new psychoactive substances, including fentanyl analogs, individually. This reactive scheduling procedure enabled the existence of a recreational market for unscheduled fentanyl analogs sold from surface webshops. We measure the interest in 24 named fentanyl analogs and the impact of scheduling. Methods: We scraped posts in threads on named fentanyl analogs from the Swedish internet forum Flashback.org, 2012–2019. The sample consists of 24 threads with a total of 8761 posts. We construct five measures of interest based on duration of threads, number of posts, and number of distinct posters, and fit a non-seasonal ARMA model to test if there was a change in mean activity after scheduling. Results: Across the five measures, there was most interest in acryl fentanyl, butyr fentanyl, and acetyl fentanyl. The number of daily posts was significantly reduced in nine out of 13 threads after scheduling. Conclusion: The scheduling of fentanyl analogs impacted interest on Flashback.org. The biggest effect sizes were from the narcotics scheduling of 2-Me-MAF, acryl, and acetyl fentanyl, while furanyl fentanyl saw the biggest reduction after health scheduling. The reductions were bigger for narcotics scheduling compared to health scheduling.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103013
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Fentanyl
  • NPS
  • Sweden
  • Synthetic opioids


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