Though opioids have obtained vital attention over the past year, fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is changing into a major player within the illicit drug market.
A lot so that the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security reportedly considered classifying fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction.
“You’ve got to remember. It’s 40 to 50 times stronger than common street heroin,” Jack Riley, former principal deputy administrator for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), informed. “That is, by far, the worst drug I’ve ever seen.”
Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. And in line with the National Institute of Health (NIH), “synthetic opioids, together with fentanyl, are now the most typical drugs involved in drug overdose deaths in the USA.” In 2017, 59% of opioid-related deaths concerned fentanyl, a notable enhanced from 14.3% in 2010.
“You have people who find themselves addicted to prescription drugs, either from legitimate prescriptions or doctors prescribing, or they get it on the street, or they steal it out of their grandmother’s medication cabinet,” Riley mentioned. “It’s an opioid-based addiction. And when prescribed drugs become too costly or hard to get, the next step based on the opioid addiction is to go down and use current-day heroin.”
The 2019 UN World Drug Report report noted that North America is experiencing “a rising variety of overdose deaths leading from the use of opioids.” There was a 13% enhance within the number of deaths in 2017 from 2016, and “largely attributed” to synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Moreover, “the variety of new psychoactive substances that are synthetic opioids, mostly fentanyl analogs, reported on the market has been rising at an unprecedented rate.” So have overdose rates.