A New Kind of Danger
Across the United States, a potent opiate is rising in prevalence. In 2015, 12 people in New Orleans died over the course of a year from the drug– by 2016, the same city witnessed 8 deaths in just one month from the opiate. The drug, known as Fentanyl, is quickly becoming a household name and it’s clear that the exploding rates of abuse are not on track to slow down without serious intervention.
Fentanyl demands attention for the nation-wide reach of its harmful effects — only two states did not experience a fentanyl-related overdose in 2014. The drug is also devastating communities at a local level – just type “fentanyl overdose” into Google to see countless articles related to the struggles of fentanyl users and the impact of the drug on their families and neighborhoods.
To address this epidemic, the public needs a better understanding of the dangers of fentanyl and the sweeping effects of the drug within the past decade. Read on for an in-depth look at fentanyl by the numbers.
One Drug, All the Power
Fentanyl, which is sometimes laced within other drugs without the user’s knowledge, is 100 times stronger than morphine (for comparison, oxycodone is roughly two times stronger), and as much as 50 times stronger than heroin. Adding to its apparent danger, Fentanyl is also cheaper than heroin or cocaine.
King of the Block
Seized by the State
In the first three months of 2016, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, saw an average of 30 deaths a month related to fentanyl or fentanyl-and-heroin combination overdoses. Law enforcement in the Ohio area is acutely aware of the problem and working diligently to combat the devastating effects of this drug.
Fentanyl’s Fatal Fingerprints
Due to its high potency, fentanyl doesn’t require a large dose to be lethal (in fact, micrograms of fentanyl can be lethal, rather than milligrams of other opioids). Though the CDC doesn’t break down deaths by particular narcotics, it has concluded that the number of deaths related to synthetic opioids (such as fentanyl and nonpharmaceutical fentanyl) nearly doubled from 2013 to 2014.
Florida, one of the top three states struggling with fentanyl and synthetic narcotic deaths, has witnessed a startling number of incidents concerning fentanyl-related deaths including one story of a 22-year-old whose dealer mixed heroin and fentanyl. Indeed, more than 350 Florida families have lost someone due to a synthetic narcotic–related death.
Front Page Fentanyl
From Bad to Terrifying
Despite Fentanyl’s prevalence across the United States, the drug only recently came into the spotlight when Prince, the legendary recording artist, passed away in 2016 from an apparent fentanyl overdose. Prince’s death sparked national conversation about fentanyl and other opiates and the dangers of overdose among those who are addicted.
Fentanyl has already claimed too many lives, such as that of Annabella Sagstetter, a 14-month-old toddler who ingested fentanyl-laced heroin at the house of her mother’s drug dealer. Only two out of the 50 states didn’t record a fentanyl-related death in 2014, and the epidemic is seriously impacting specific regions and states such as Ohio, where 30 percent of all fentanyl seizures have taken place.
If you, a loved one, or someone you know is struggling to cope with the challenges of addiction, get help. This isn’t a war you have to wage alone, and there is hope. Heroin.net can connect you with the best local drug addiction and treatment solutions today.
All data about deaths related to fentanyl and synthetic narcotics came from http://wonder.cdc.gov/. Data regarding numbers of drug seizures came from the DEA’s National Forensic Laboratory Information System. For the number of related news articles per year, we pulled stories from https://news.google.com/news with the terms “fentanyl overdoses” and “fentanyl-laced heroin” and parsed the data by the date each article was published. All opioid potency data was compared with 10 milligrams of morphine.