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Drug overdose deaths soar due to black marketing of synthetic opioids, says report

05-09 | By Rachael

Drug overdose deaths soar due to black marketing of synthetic opioids, says report

The constantly expanding illicit drug trafficking of synthetic opioids like fentanyl has significantly contributed to the worsening state of opioid crisis, revealed a recent report published by the American Action Forum. The report also stated that fatalities involving heroin and synthetic opioids soared between 2013 and 2016 – the total number of opioid overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids grew by around 84.2 percent each year despite a decrease in the number of opioid prescriptions.

Explaining the contradiction, the experts highlighted that the rules imposed by the government on doctors to limit their prescription to patients created a dearth of pills for the people abusing them. This development gave an opportunity to drug cartels to fill the gap with illegal synthetic opioids.

In fact, many users happen to consume synthetic opioids accidently. Due to lack of awareness and knowledge, users were massively impacted by the illicit marketing of the pills laced with synthetic opioids like fentanyl. In general, synthetic opioids are either mixed with the local heroin supply to increase their potency or pressed into pills to make them look like prescription medicines.

Opioid overdose fatalities increased after 2010

Some of the strategies and policies implemented by the U.S. federal agencies and authorities in order to rein in the opioid epidemic have been successful and yielded positive outcomes. After the authorities became strict with pills mills and rogue doctors, alongside the implementation of prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) by states, the quantity of opioids prescribed began to decline by 4.3 percent per year 2010 onwards.

Additionally, the annual growth rate of overdose fatalities involving prescription opioids significantly reduced from 13.4 percent before 2010 to just 4.8 percent after 2010. However, the crackdown on prescription opioids hit hard the people who were abusing painkillers or depended on the pills for relief from chronic pain. This encouraged the illegal suppliers to cash in on this opportunity and proliferate the market with synthetic opioids. As a result, the annual growth rate of all opioid-involved overdose fatalities rose from 9.1 percent before 2010 to 12.3 percent after 2010.

Overcoming opioid addiction

Despite the implementation of the rules limiting the amount and ensuring the continuous monitoring of prescription drugs, there has been no significant improvement in the surging rates of opioid epidemic. Illegal marketing of synthetic opioids by transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) is taking a toll on the human lives. Therefore, policymakers, experts, doctors and other stakeholders need to explore effective ways to curb the increased supply of illicit opioids.

Besides the above-mentioned stakeholders, the onus of fighting the ongoing menace of opioid crisis falls on the shoulders of users as well. Every individual can contribute their bit in the battle against opioid abuse by spreading awareness about its repercussions and seeking treatment for his or her loved one addicted to prescription drugs. The need of the hour is to spread awareness about the harmful effects of substance abuse and motivate people to accept the problem and not shy away from treatment due to associated stigma. Ideally, one should immediately seek medical help with the onset of symptoms, such as dependence on a painkiller, indulgence in prescription drugs for nonmedical purposes, etc. Opioid addiction can be treated through a proper medical intervention.

If you or your loved one is looking for help to deal with an underlying opioid addiction, contact the Colorado Substance Abuse Advisors. You can call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-300-5857 or chat online with our experts to get in touch with the state-of-the-art substance abuse treatment centers near you.


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