The opioid epidemic of the last couple years has resulted in record-breaking drug fatalities and overdoses. As mentioned in previous posts, heroin use has skyrocketed over the last decade. Any more alarming is that fact that more drug dealers are mixing Fentanyl with heroin and selling in without the buyers knowledge. Fentanyl, reportedly 10 times stronger than heroin, has already been attributed to a massive spike in overdose victims with Fentanyl showing up in the toxicology report. Just two "salt-sized" doses of Fentanyl can kill a heavy opioid user.
States across the nation are battling not just increased heroin usage, but also dope cut with the cheaper and more potent fentanyl. Sounds like addiction professionals and law enforcement's worse nightmare right? A new synthetic drug, Carfentanil, is flooding the streets more deadly and dangerous than any of the aforementioned drugs. The ramifications of this lethal drug is making news across the north east and spreading fast.
"Officials in the Cincinnati area and in southern Indiana say that a synthetic drug, Carfentanil — 10,000 times as potent as morphine — could be tied to at least 189 overdoses across both states in the past week, resulting in at least four deaths in the states" - Katie Rogers NYT
The drug, a cousin of fentanyl, is used to tranquilize large animals like elephants. Carfentanil had been traced to Chinese manufacturers who ship the drug through Mexico and into the United States. Because the drug is synthetic and can be manufactured for low cost with legal chemicals, cartels are increasingly choosing to sell Carfentanil as heroin or "dope" to unsuspecting drug addicts. Like Fentanyl, the lethal dose for the elephant tranquilizer is "smaller than a snowflake". The overdose potential for these drugs is enormous, and the fact that drug manufacturers can make a larger profit from these synthetic drugs is a recipe for an epidemic.
In a small Cincinnati town, the arrival of Carfentanil has brought about immediate and deadly effects. "“Our antidote, our Narcan, is ineffective,” Sheriff Jim Neil of Hamilton County said, using a trade name for naloxone. “It was meant for heroin. It wasn’t meant for Fentanyl or Carfentanil".
The small dosage required to get "high" from Fentanyl and Carfentanil is making it a favorite for drug dealers. Produced in mass quantities in labs in China and Mexico, the drugs are substantially cheaper than heroin or pain pills like Oxycontin. Nan Franks, the executive director of the Addiction Services Council, said drugs were so cheap that addicts said they can walk through one housing project and get four free samples.