Minnesota officers recently seized a large quantity of fentanyl in the Midwest based on extensive investigation and “very, very good police work”.
The drug bust removed enough fentanyl pills to kill over 1 million people, and the suspected dealer now faces federal charges for possessing a large quantity of synthetic opioids.
Of particular concern was that the fentanyl doses had been pressed into a familiar pill that was indistinguishable from that provided in a typical oxycodone prescription. So oxycodone obtained on the street now presents with a much higher risk of fatal overdose than was previously thought.
The article reported that large quantities of fentanyl continue to come across the U.S. southern border. The U.S. Senate is currently examining how this influx of fentanyl is impacting American communities as drug seizures hit historic levels.
Those currently struggling in active opioid addiction should explore getting professional help as soon as possible. Fentanyl “in disguise” is making its way across the country.
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There are plenty of illegally manufactured medications of unknown origin currently flooding the country. In addition to heroin, methamphetamines, and other highly addictive substances, common prescriptions for managing psychiatric disorders are now accessible on the street as well.
Often these seemingly “legit” meds are manufactured outside of the U.S. where they are not subject to FDA oversight. Some of them are laced with fentanyl as is now occurring with street opiates, cocaine, and ecstasy.
Fentanyl availability is becoming widespread and creating an epidemic of accidental overdoses. News of fentanyl drug busts are being reported with increasing frequency since U.S. law enforcement and border patrol have stepped up their efforts to confiscate this deadly drug before it hits the streets.
It is important to remember that medications provided by methadone clinics and buprenorphine-approved doctors are beneficial drugs that are carefully formulated by pharmaceutical companies operating under FDA guidelines and safety checks. Please, only take medications prescribed by your doctor.
Every OTP (opioid treatment program) clinic and prescribing physician aim to custom fit the medication and dosage that will best treat your opioid use disorder. Self-medicating with drugs obtained on the street is highly dangerous. Your recovery success depends on you believing in your treatment team and relying upon their medical expertise, and their administration of safe, approved medications designed to manage your opioid withdrawal symptoms.
While it is fairly common knowledge these days, it bears repeating that fentanyl is leading to dramatic increases in drug overdose deaths. The Families Against Fentanyl group, using three years of CDC mortality data, recently concluded that fentanyl overdose had caused more deaths than the corona virus, automobile accidents, or suicide in the 18-45 age group.
Fentanyl is finding its way into other dangerous street drug combinations, and is consequently posing serious risks to both experienced and unexperienced users.
A December 2021 Wall Street Journal article mentioned that there were 100,000 fatal overdoses in the United States between April 2019 and April 2020. Fentanyl is making its way across the U.S. southern border smuggled in by Mexican drug cartels in a stream of drug trafficking that is yielding a constant challenge to U.S. law enforcement authorities.
Fortunately, community-based drug prevention programs across the country have begun including extensive discussions of the dangers of opioids and fentanyl as a common additive.
Opioid addiction in America will remain a chief concern for many more years to come. Securing local treatment and support has never been more important than it is right now.
One of the risks associated with the progression of opioid addiction is the increased probability of an addicted person moving to injectable heroin as a last resort in dealing with opioid withdrawal. In the early years of methadone’s adoption in treatment centers, it was used primarily to help heroin addicted individuals detox from heroin and eventually remain heroin free.
While heroin is definitely resurfacing, the opioid epidemic of recent years has primarily been about prescription opioids taken orally. Following this pattern of use, users eventually discover that crushing and snorting pills is a more efficient means of getting an opioid into their system. Injecting is typically the last step in this progression of the disease of addiction.
But with injection comes a variety of new risks and health problems such as skin abscesses, localized infection at the site of injection, as well as hepatitis C (a viral infection of the liver) and HIV infection acquired through needle sharing with infected persons. A recent story in the news highlighted a sudden increase in HIV infections in Scott County (Indiana) in conjunction with the rise of opioid addiction there and injectable drug use.
Indiana’s governor has temporarily approved the use of needle exchange programs to help reduce the risk of virus transmission resulting from the use of dirty needles. The story indicated that the number of documented HIV infections had risen month over month. The county is presently trying to locate over 100 people who may have been exposed to the HIV virus in connection with injecting opiates.
Methadone and other medication-assisted treatments have been conclusively proven to reduce heroin/opiate relapse and injection drug use. For many individuals trapped in a daily cycle of perpetual drug abuse, the risk of acquiring a deadly infection increases with every day that they are not in treatment receiving help.
Treatment leads to recovery, and recovery leads to dramatic lifestyle change. Many patients who choose methadone as a tool in their personal recovery never go back to injecting drugs. This obviously is a life saving choice.
Using the data from the long-term and serious studies, we must admit that 60% of men using the drug on a daily basis normalized their erectile function; they had no symptoms of the diseases and felt healthy. It is interesting that after 2 years of use, this indicator remains almost unchanged. This suggests that there is no tachyphylaxis. The data of a large-scale study show that the patients taking PDE5 Cialis 5 mg every day are less concerned with the time of action of the drug, the speed of the effect and spontaneity of sexual activity. The patient doesn’t think about whether the pill will work.
Someone recently stated “If you’re dead, you can’t recovery.” This is a rather blunt way of expressing a profound and meaningful truth. Addiction does rob loved ones, friends, family, and neighbors of life, health, and happiness. Recovery has the ability to restore all of these. Let us keep our minds and hearts open about the value of medication-assisted treatment. It is making a real difference for numerous people around the world.
Posted in Drug Safety, Harm Reduction, Heroin, Medication Assisted Treatment, Methadone, Methadone Clinics, Methadone Maintenance, Relapse Prevention, Suboxone
Tagged Harm Reduction, Hep C, Hepatitis, HIV, Indiana
More communities across the U.S. are facing the devastation of opioid overdose. The impact on families is profound as they often struggle with questions of “Could we have done more?” and ponder what else must be done to address this growing national epidemic.
Highlighted in the news this week was the heroin overdose death of a Louisville cheerleader and the suspected opioid overdose death of a 27 year old man in North Carolina found slumped behind the wheel of his pick-up truck with an empty bottle of painkillers and a spoon beside him.
Naloxone is an FDA-approved medication that reverses the effects of opioid overdose. It is an opioid antagonist and consequently knocks opiates off of the body’s opioid receptor sites thus reversing central nervous system and respiratory depression which are the most dangerous consequences of opioid overdose. In many cases, naloxone quickly restores breathing and allows overdose victims to regain consciousness in a relatively short period of time. Naloxone is administered by injection or intranasally as a mist.
An increasing number of emergency first responders are now carrying naloxone kits as are some police units in select areas of the country. Local government is now more involved too with new legislation having been proposed in the last year to dramatically increase funding for the provision of naloxone kits.
Ideally, naloxone will one day become readily available without prescription to anyone via their local pharmacy. There is no upside to politicizing something as beneficial as naloxone because it simply saves lives. Note that the medication itself produces no drug high.