Fentanyl-Laced Heroin: A Surge in Deadly Overdoses

Fentanyl Laced Heroin

Heroin on the Rise

Deaths from heroin overdoses have steadily been on the rise in the past few years. In 2013 alone, men were four times more likely than women to die from overdose deaths. The highest death rate for heroin-related overdose deaths are between the age of 25 and 44.

In the most recent data from the Center for Disease Control, there were about 43,982 drug injury-related deaths due to drug overdoses in 2013. Today, those numbers are skyrocketing due to an often deadly mix of heroin and the comeback drug from the 70s, Fentanyl.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is an anesthetic and an analgesic used to manage severe pain after surgery. It’s also commonly used to treat chronic pain. Fentanyl is a Schedule II drug that is 100 times more potent than morphine.

Fentanyl is most commonly mixed with heroin and cocaine to get a longer lasting high, but it is often the cause of overdose due to Fentanyl’s high potency. While fraud and pharmacy theft of Fentanyl is common, drug dealers mostly get it from underground pharmaceutical labs that mix it with heroin and distribute it to different parts of the world. These drugs are also sold online on the dark web.

How Fentanyl Affects the Body

Many drug abusers often end up in the emergency room from overdosing because they believe they are taking pure heroin; however, many end up injecting more of the drug then their body can handle.

While users often experience intense euphoria, the side effects from this very potent mixture can be disastrous, such as:

  • Drowsiness/Sedation
  • Respiratory depression and arrest
  • Nausea, constipation
  • Unconsciousness, coma
  • Deadly overdose

The effects from mixing Fentanyl and heroin can range in severity. When fentanyl is mixed with heroin, it can be injected or absorbed by a transdermal patch or taken as a lozenge. What is mostly in the streets however, is a powdered form of heroin that is mostly distributed from rogue pharmaceutical labs, mostly out of China.

Rise in Opioid Deaths

With the increase in Fentanyl-laced heroin, there have been several deaths from 2013 to 2014, with about 700 fentanyl-related deaths nationwide. Some states have found to have more deaths than other states including, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Just in the first quarter of 2015, there were about 39 deaths in Baltimore, which spiked from 14 in 2014. In the first three months of the year, there were 73 fentanyl and heroin-related overdoses in Maryland. Overdose deaths in New Jersey have swelled, tripling in 2014 from 2013. It was reported that there were about 49 people in 2013 who died with fentanyl in their system which spiked to 143 people in 2014.

What’s Being Done

Major crackdowns continue nationwide from the Drug Enforcement Agency on pharmacy theft and prescription fraud. In 2014, there were 3,344 reports of fraud from physicians and pharmacists.

Some states are requiring that first responders and emergency personnel carry the reverse opiate overdose drug, naloxone on them. In some regions this has proved to reduce the rate of overdose deaths; however, the surge in overdose deaths from Fentanyl and heroin are still concerning.

With about 44,000 people dying every year in the United States from accidental overdose from opiates, the drugstore, CVS is now getting involved. Just recently, CVS pharmacies announced that they will now be selling non-prescription naloxone in 14 states; Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Arkansas, California, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin.

If someone you know is using Heroin or any other opioid or harmful drugs, recovery is possible. Find help today by calling us at (866) 295-6003 or chat now. Our admissions counselors are glad to answer any questions you may have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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