National Public Health Emergency
On October 26, 2017 President Trump declared, “The opioid crisis a national public health emergency under federal law”. The use of illicit street drugs such as heroin and fentanyl continue to be abused rampantly.
According to the Center for Disease Control, “Since 2000, the rate of deaths from drug overdoses has increased 137%, including a 200% increase in the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids (opioid pain relievers and heroin)”. Similarly in June of 2017 The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that, “Every day, more than 90 Americans die after overdosing on opioids”. While such statistics include opioid use in its entirety, the culprit of the epidemic is stated to be illegally manufactured Fentanyl, Fentanyl analogues, and street drugs laced with Fentanyl.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl, an opioid pain medication, is a Pharmaceutical drug which aided in treating pain for severe cancer patients, has become illegally manufactured, and sold as a street drug. It comes in a variety of forms which can be swallowed, injected, snorted, or absorbed through the mucus membrane. In addition to that, the drug can be abused by itself, and also combined with other illicit drugs.
Fentanyl works on the opioid receptors in the brain to produce feelings of euphoria, and sedation. The effects quickly lead abusers to develop a high tolerance, and addiction to the drug. This leads to larger amounts being consumed in a shorter period of time which becomes dangerous. Using Fentanyl can results in coma, or death.
Fentanyl Street Names
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Street names for fentanyl or for fentanyl-laced heroin include Apache, China Girl, China White, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfella, Jackpot, Murder 8, TNT, and Tango and Cash”. The drug can even be hidden in other illicit drugs, such as heroin, when the abuser is unaware that they are even consuming it. The danger in this is that opioid users are at high risk for overdose, and addiction.
Fentanyl is 50-100 times stronger than morphine, and is believed to be the leading source of increased overdoses in the U.S. According to the New York Times, “ Drug overdoses are expected to remain the leading cause of death for Americans under 50, as synthetic opioids — primarily Fentanyl and its analogues — continue to push the death count higher”.