Today, in some areas of New England, Fentanyl is killing more people than heroin. It’s a powerful synthetic painkiller that, in the past, was laced into heroin and is now increasingly being sold on its own. In many cases, even the addicts don’t know if they are shooting heroin, heroin and fentanyl, or pure fentanyl. It only takes a tiny amount to kill a person and it can do so quickly.
Fentanyl is 50 Times More Powerful than Heroin
Last year, fentanyl killed 158 people in New Hampshire, while heroin killed 32. In addition, fentanyl was a factor in another 120 deaths, whereas heroin contributed to an additional 56 deaths.
Fentanyl is the latest wave of a drug epidemic killing people across the U.S. — one that has been fueled initially by addiction to prescription painkillers. Prescription drugs have been the pathway for many into a downward spiraling addiction. It’s at an epidemic level now, affecting people in all walks of life — even Republican Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz’s half sister. Miriam Cruz fought prescription pill addiction for years, and finally died of an accidental overdose of prescription pills in 2011.
Fentanyl has Been Around Since the 60s
Fentanyl is not new, its been around since the 1960s and was used by doctors to treat extreme pain. However, in recent years the drug has been smuggled into the United Sates from Mexico drug cartels. Fentanyl is the drug of choice for the drug lords because it can be made more cheaply and easily than heroin. And, for many addicts, it is their drug of choice as well — it produces a higher high and is cheaper to buy on the streets.
Opiate Epidemic Taking More Lives than Car Accidents
Across the U.S., the number of seizures that have been reported, as a result of fentanyl, has risen from 618 in 2012 to 4,585in 2014. 80 percent of the seizures in 2014 occurred in just 10 states, with Massachusetts being second on the list. Today the Opiate epidemic in the U.S. is taking more lives than car accidents. People from all walks of life are becoming addicted and dying from it — the poor, middle class, and upper class.
336 people died in Massachusetts from fentanyl-related overdoses from October 2014 to October 2015. That’s up 53 percent from the year before. Addicts continue to be attracted to fentanyl, even if it means they could die from it — a phenomenon of the addicted mind.
Fentanyl is More Dangerous than Heroin
Fentanyl is seen by many a being even more dangerous than heroin because it works so quickly. It hits your before you’re even done shooting it. Often there is little time to administer naloxone, which reverses the effects of an overdose. In just a matter of moments an addict can be dead.
Facts About Overdose
- Drug overdose is a leading cause of death in the United States.
- Among people 25 to 64 years old, drug overdose causes more deaths than motor vehicle accidents.
- 60 percent of overdose deaths involve prescription drugs.
- Overdose can happen with first time use.
Risk of overdose increases when:
- Taking opiates while taking other depressants or while taking stimulants.
- Using opiates after leaving detox treatment or when going back home after being in jail. After periods of abstinence, the body’s tolerance for opiates is low.
- Using heroin that is mixed with other dangerous substances, such as Fentanyl, or uses a mixture of cocaine and heroin often called “speedballing.”
- An individual is sick with a cold or flu, or has asthma(these factors reduce the amount of oxygen in the blood)
- Someone is diagnosed with HIV or viral hepatitis, diseases that weaken their immune system.
Support Groups For Addicts and Their Families
- Narcotics Anonymous
- Nar-anon (support for families)
- How to help a loved one struggling with the disease of addiction