Fentanyl… It’s Not Only in Heroin
Fentanyl has been making news headlines for years in the world of drug addiction. It’s notoriously known as the number one killer drug that is often mixed with heroin to increase its potency and addictiveness. Whenever heroin addicts huddle around their spoons, lighters and syringes, whether they realize it or not, there’s a strong chance that shot may be their last, especially if fentanyl is the main ingredient in what they’re about to put in their arms. For a long time, it was thought heroin users were the only ones susceptible to overdosing from fentanyl, but that’s no longer true. Fentanyl is now being laced into other drugs, causing many unsuspecting drug users to overdose.
Fentanyl is an opiate painkiller that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl’s main use is to treat severe pain and to manage pain after surgery. It is such a powerful drug that people who are highly resistant to opiates can be administered fentanyl to manage their painful conditions. However, it’s not pharmaceutical-grade fentanyl that’s hitting the streets and mixing in with the drug supply. Instead, fentanyl is being covertly synthesized and produced in hidden, off beat laboratories, like the ones that create meth and are known for blowing up. Fentanyl has been mixed with heroin for years and has killed countless addicts. The gamble heroin addicts take with every shot is insane. They never know the purity, strength or whether or not they got a bag full of fentanyl until it’s too late. So, some could be used to shooting 2 points of heroin from one dealer, but once they get it from a different source, the same amount could kill them.
Heroin is the most common drug fentanyl is mixed with. Cocaine addicts, meth addicts and those who abuse other drugs never had to worry about getting a bag laced with fentanyl, until now. In Cleveland, Ohio federal officials are alarmed by a huge surge in fentanyl-related drug overdose cases. It appears that fentanyl has made its way into the cocaine supply and cocaine addicts started overdosing and dying and no one could figure out why.
Carole Rendon, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio said “It's our belief that the people who are using cocaine, and overdosing and dying, don't know that there’s fentanyl-laced into the cocaine.”
Officials don’t know why this trend is the way it is, but more people die due to drug-related overdoses in Ohio than any other state. Lake County Prosecutor Charles Coulson said, “We as a society have to come up with some new answers.”
We definitely have to come up with new answers. No drug user is safe right now. Whether they use heroin, cocaine, pills or even marijuana, there’s a chance it is laced with fentanyl. Clearly, the “War on Drugs” isn’t working and we need a complete shift with how we’re addressing this epidemic. More money needs to be spent on drug rehabilitation and education. We need to make effective drug rehabs more widely available to those who need it. Not “spin dry” detox centers or quick, 30-day “in and out” treatments, but good, long-term, residential treatment that address the person’s issues. Making long-term, residential treatment available to the masses is the best way to start handling the current out-of-control drug abuse situation. This type of treatment gets the core root of addiction and gives an addict enough time to dry out and handle their issues. By shifting from the traditional, government-funded treatments to a type with a better chance to get someone sober, we can finally get a grip on drug abuse and prevent this already bad situation from getting worse.