From 2013 to 2014 the number of overdose deaths involving the synthetic opioid painkiller fentanyl more than doubled. Though the name fentanyl only became household after numerous celebrity deaths involving the drug last year, the synthetic substance has been problematic for some time. 1,905 people became 4,200 in the matter of twelve months. That’s almost 170 additional overdose deaths per month- about 6 more people per day for an entire 365 days. These numbers came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also according to the report, the rate increased double as well- from 6 deaths per 1 million to 13.
Since 2013, fentanyl has moved up to become one of the top ten most common drugs for overdose death. Other opioids including heroin still take the top of the rank. Often, overdose deaths are not singular-substance based. For example, the report found that in 2014, over 36,000 of overdose deaths just under 50% of those were polysubstance. Around 25% were two drugs. Recent studies have found that since the rise of heroin and opioid overdose there has also been a rise in cocaine overdose, according to toxicology reports. Often, the two drugs are cut together. Cocaine can be laced with the invisible fentanyl. Pills imitating prescription opioid narcotics can be laced with cocaine. In addition, it is not uncommon for intravenous drug users to combine both cocaine and heroin.
Why Is Fentanyl So Lethal?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid substance used to treat chronic pain. Up to 100 times more powerful and potent than regular morphine, fentanyl can be fatal with a first dose. Once overseas manufacturers got a hold of formulas for fentanyl it became more available on black markets. The clear almost invisible powder is hard to detect and even more difficult is detecting how strong it will be. Synthetic versions of any substances are dangerous as is, as are opioids as themselves. A synthetic opioid is bound to be harmful. People do live with fentanyl addiction using the drug orally, snorting, smoking, or injecting through IV. Addiction to fentanyl can last long term but can lead to multiple overdoses and eventually death.
If you or a loved one are struggling with fentanyl addiction and are seeking long term treatment options for recovery, call LEAD Recovery Center today for information on our extended care programs. 800-380-0012