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With a few clicks, Daniel added the chemical to his online cart and ordered it. In less than a week, a vial containing white powder arrived at his house. He used a syringe to measure out sterile water and eject it into the vial to dissolve the powder.

Then, with a different syringe, he drew up about a quarter of a milliliter of the solution and injected it into his lower abdomen.

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The product was what an online chemical supplier says is semaglutide. Similar websites offer what they say is tirzepatide. Those are the active ingredients in a new generation of diabetes and obesity drugs that have become immensely popular for causing significant weight loss.

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