In 2016, there were approximately 64,000 fatal overdoses in the United States – a 22% increase from 2015. 2017 is projected to be even worse, on pace for over 71,000 drug-related deaths.
Most people know that the rising tide of deaths is being driven by the ongoing opioid epidemic. But were you aware the biggest present danger is coming from powerful synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and its many variations?
In 2016, there were 21,405 fentanyl/analogue-related deaths. That is more than double the number of deaths in 2015, and almost seven times 2013’s total.
They are Extremely Powerful…and DEADLY
Fentanyl is 100 times stronger than morphine, and some of its related analogues are 10,000 times more potent. Because they are often mixed in with or substituted for cheap, low-grade heroin, opioid addicts often don’t even know what they are taking.
There Are Literally DOZENS of Variations
According to the DEA’s Special Testing and Research Laboratory, there are approximately 50 analogues of fentanyl. Some of the illicit substances containing or related to fentanyl include:
They Are Easily Available
A quick online search will generate dozens of results from shady online pharmacies willing and offering to ship synthetic opioids, usually without a prescription or any kind of documentation. Many of these drug companies are based in China.
The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission released a report saying, “China is a global source of fentanyl and other illicit substances because the country’s vast chemical and pharmaceutical industries are weakly regulated and poorly monitored.”
Mexico’s Role Is Expanding
Increased legalization in the United States has led to a decrease in the demand for Mexican marijuana. As a result, many cartels have expanded their production of heroin. In fact, Mexico now has the third-most total land area devoted to the illicit cultivation of the opium poppy.
But since heroin production requires such a huge commitment of land and manpower, drug cartels have increasingly turned to fentanyl. Because it is a synthetic, fentanyl can be mass-produced in a lab.
Jack Riley of the DEA says, “It is really the next migration of the cartels in terms of making profit. This goes to the heart of the marketing genius of the cartels. They saw this coming.”
San Diego’s unique geography puts residents of the area particularly at-risk.
If you live in Southern California and need help because you are dependent on heroin or any other opioid, Lasting Recovery outpatient drug rehab in San Diego can help.
Lasting Recovery – “Where Wellness Begins…”