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Fentanyl overdose increased by 80% in US between 2013 and 2014

03-24 | By CSAA Team

Fentanyl overdose increased by 80% in US between 2013 and 2014

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rate of drug overdose deaths, including primarily opioid overdose deaths, has skyrocketed by 140 percent since 2000 in the United States. As per the statistics available, deaths caused due to the commonly prescribed natural and semisynthetic opioid painkillers after increasing since the 1990s declined a little in 2012 and did not increase in 2013, thereby displaying some signs of progress. However, heroin overdose deaths have witnessed a discernible rise from 2010 onwards.

Overall, drug addiction and drug overdose deaths have increased considerably from 2013 to 2014. During this period, the overdose death rate for opioid painkillers increased by 9 percent. While it increased by 26 percent in the case of heroin, there was an increase by 80 percent in the case of synthetic opioids, including illicitly manufactured fentanyl. By 2014, the opioid overdose epidemic exacerbated again.

Fentanyl at pinnacle of illicit drugs

In 2016, the medical authorities reported that fentanyl overdose was responsible for the death of the musician Prince, which shocked the entire world. For many, it was the first time that they had even heard about the drug fentanyl, which can prove to be detrimental when used in a manner other than recommended by doctors.

When it comes to synthetic opioids, fentanyl is one of the most potent drugs among all. It is usually prescribed to the patients dealing with severe pain, particularly following a serious surgery and during the challenging phase of cancer.

Speculations suggest that Prince may have acquired the drug after his hip surgery in the mid-2000s. At times, fentanyl is procured illegally from doctors; however, the illegal counterpart of the drug has been circulating under various street names, such as Apache, China White, China Girl and TNT.

Lethality of fentanyl

Fentanyl is a drug that is approximately 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Considering the above fact, it is prescribed only to the patients who experience the highest level of pain. Whenever the law enforcement personnel bust a shipment of fentanyl, they are required to be geared up in the highest-grade hazmat suit to avoid the absorption of the drug through the pores in the skin.

A dose of fentanyl the size of a grain of sand is enough to kill an individual. When it is prescribed by a doctor, it is measured by the millionth of a gram. Given the fact that how easy it is to overdose on fentanyl, overdose cases between 2013 and 2014 have increased by 80 percent.

Needle in a haystack

Besides being sold in its raw form, fentanyl is sometimes blended with heroin, cocaine or other drugs. When a person uses these drugs, he or she unintentionally risk exposure to fentanyl. As even the smallest amount of fentanyl can be fatal, it can prove to be a major threat to a person’s life. In fact, the stark rise in heroin could also be due to the blend of illegal fentanyl with heroin; overdose deaths due to heroin use have increased by more than threefold since 2010.

The ways of consuming fentanyl extend beyond than a concoction of illicit drugs. In fact, counterfeit pain pills and anxiety medications laced with fentanyl are easily available on the street. As these fake pills are indistinguishable from their genuine counterparts, it is essential to conduct a lab test to ascertain their authenticity. According to several sources, fentanyl has been discovered in counterfeit drugs disguised as Percocet, Xanax and Norco.

Another reason that contributed to the increase in overdose deaths is that fake pills are available at a cheaper price on the streets. While buying prescription drugs, one can safeguard himself or herself from counterfeit drugs and fentanyl-laced drugs by visiting a doctor or a certified pharmacy.

Avoid the death trap

Like other illicit drugs, fentanyl affects the key portions of the brain responsible for controlling pain and emotions. Some of the serious effects of fentanyl include drowsiness, nausea, confusion, respiratory depression, addiction, death, etc. Being a highly potent drug, there are increased chances of an overdose.

If you or your loved one is battling any form of substance abuse, contact the Colorado Substance Abuse Advisors to access the best substance abuse treatment centers in Colorado. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-300-5857 or chat online to know more about the substance abuse treatment programs in Colorado.


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