Carfentanil: New face of opioid epidemic

Carfentanil: New face of opioid epidemic

It’s not just opioid and heroin epidemic that the United States is trying its best to overcome. Law enforcement agencies are also trying to combat another problem area in the form of fentanyl abuse. To add fuel to the fire, now carfentanil, a substance banned for general consumption, is leaving a lethal trail in the U.S. Carfentanil, an analogue of fentanyl, is 10,000 times more potent than morphine and is used to immobilize certain large animals. Termed as an elephant tranquilizer, carfentanil is 100 times more potent than fentanyl. Before being abused, carfentanil was viewed as a chemical weapon.

As per the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), most of the synthetic drugs enter the U.S. from China. Despite its obvious dangers, Chinese vendors continue to sell the drug online openly to the world.

As per the Associated Press (AP), the DEA reported at least 407 carfentanil seizures in eight states across the U.S. since July 2016. A controlled substance in the U.S., carfentanil is suspected to cause millions of drug overdose deaths across the U.S. and Canada.

Since July 2016, Ohio witnessed 343 carfentanil seizures. The drug has also spread through the states of Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky and Illinois. It has been seized at least 34 times in Florida, the second-hardest-hit state. As per the DEA, in July 2016, paramedics in Akron, Ohio, logged 236 overdoses, including 14 fatalities, with suspected links to carfentanil. According to the DEA, there were eight confirmed carfentanil overdose deaths in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Opioid epidemic spreading like wildfire

Opioids, a class of drugs, include prescribed pain relievers such as Oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl and illicit drugs such as heroin. Opioids work by attaching themselves to opioid receptors on nerve cells in the body to relieve pain and produce pleasurable effects. Unlike previous drug plagues in the U.S., the opioid epidemic spread via perfectly legal channels. Millions of people seeking pain relieving medicines were prescribed opioids by doctors.

According to medical health professions, some of the causes that contributed to the spread of the epidemic were aggressive marketing strategies by leading pharmaceutical companies and prescription by doctors without fully disclosing their side effects to the patients. Easy availability and euphoria-generating effects made opioids popular among teenagers and young adults. Opioid addiction also spread like wildfire through forged prescriptions, illegal means of procuring drugs, easy access to a relative’s medicine cabinet.

In order to control the situation, the federal agencies have taken a number of steps by issuing specific guidelines for prescribing opioids. As per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), opioid painkillers such as fentanyl and Oxycodone will now have to carry a warning talking about their addiction, abuse and overdose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidelines for doctors while prescribing opioids for chronic pain.

Help at hand

The nation has been struggling with opioid epidemic for a long time now. Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental deaths in the U.S. As per the CDC, overdose deaths involving opioids have nearly quadrupled since 1999. In 2014, opioids, including heroin and prescription painkillers killed more than 28,000 people in the U.S. It is estimated that 78 people in America die every day from opioid overdose. As per the U.S. Department of Health, prescription painkiller overdose kills approximately 44 people every day.

If you or someone you know is abusing prescription drugs and needs help, contact the Florida Prescription Addiction Helpline to know about one of the best drug treatment centers in Florida. Call us at our 24/7 helpline 866-292-3211 or chat online with our experts who can help you find the best drug addiction treatment centers in Florida.

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