Fentanyl in America
Despite the fact that Fentanyl is one of the most prevalent drugs in the United States, many still don't know just how dangerous it is. This is largely because the drug is commonly disguised as oxycodone, and the FDA hasn't yet approved it for use as an opioid. But a new study is showing how this drug is driving the US opioid epidemic.
Fentanyl is up to 100 times more powerful than the prescription opioid morphine, and 50 times more powerful than heroin. Just two milligrams, equal to a few grains of salt, can cause a fatal overdose.
Changing drug trafficking patterns
A growing number of people are suffering from opioid pain reliever addiction. The US opioid epidemic is the deadliest in US history. Overdoses from heroin, prescription opioids, and other substances are the most common cause of deaths. This epidemic affects all age groups, and includes economically depressed areas. It has also created new health risks. It is difficult to address this problem.
A decline in enforcement appears to have contributed to an increase in drug-related violence. This is particularly true in the northeast United States. The use of heroin and fentanyl is associated with overdoses, and dealers are aggressively marketing these substances to existing users. Some dealers offer free crack or "three-for-two" deals, which lure consumers into buying the drug.
Marketing to young people
Several studies have shown that the opioid epidemic is driving fentanyl use. Unlike heroin, fentanyl is available in a wholesale market, and is 10 to 25 times as potent as heroin. This makes it an ideal substitution for the diverted pharmaceutical pills that have made the rounds in the media.
In fact, it may be cheaper to buy a counterfeit pill than the real thing. These pills may even be safer to carry because they contain a known amount of fentanyl.
The "magic pill" is not a new invention, but rather a well-established trend. Historically, the cheapest prescription opioids were sold on the black market, but the drug industry has responded by expanding to include a variety of psychoactive substances. Combined, these drugs are often used as gateway drugs to heroin. This is a problem that is hard to reverse because these substances are inexpensive and easy to obtain.
While there has been some hysteria surrounding the possibility of a new heroin epidemic, the opioid crisis has lasted for many years. Despite the best efforts of government agencies and the private sector, the problem remains.
Commonly disguised as oxycodone
Generally speaking, oxycodone is a powerful opioid used to treat pain. However, it is oftentimes mixed with other compounds such as fentanyl, which is a much stronger opioid. While oxycodone may seem like a benign substance to a naive individual, it is not. It can be fatal in small doses. In fact, it is the leading cause of overdose deaths in Canada and the U.S. In addition, fentanyl is frequently smuggled into the country by illicit drug traffickers.
One of the more common ways in which fentanyl is transported is in pill form. Typically, these pills are stamped to look like a legitimate, U.S. pharmaceutical, and contain a dose of fentanyl. The DEA is working with federal law enforcement agencies, state agencies, and other stakeholders to prevent this dangerous substance from escaping the U.S. and making its way into the hands of unsuspecting consumers.
A little-known fact is that these fraudulent oxycodone pills are more potent than their counterparts. As a result, counterfeit oxycodone pills can be lethal in small doses. To combat this, a number of state and federal law enforcement agencies are launching multi-tiered, coordinated efforts to bust bogus oxycodone medications.
Impact on vulnerable populations
Increasingly, illicitly manufactured fentanyl is being sold in the United States as counterfeit pharmaceutical pills. In addition, fentanyl analogues are being trafficked to users with increasing frequency. These products are even more potent than fentanyl.
Many studies have found a connection between the opioid epidemic and fentanyl use. The epidemic has altered the patterns of misuse, overdose, and mortality involving these drugs. However, despite efforts to collect data on prescription opioids and illicit opioids, many trends in the use and misuse of these drugs are not being tracked among underserved populations.
The opioid epidemic is a broad and complex health problem. It affects all age groups, including the youth, the elderly, and those living in economically depressed areas. It is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, killing 90 Americans every day. In recent years, the increase in heroin overdose has been especially pronounced.
The opioid epidemic is caused by a large-scale misuse of prescription opioids. This misuse has expanded the illicit opioid market and created new demand. It has also contributed to the rising rate of heroin overdose.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse and want to find treatment options, view our list of drug rehabs in America and find help today.