Fentanyl epidemic? Probably.
2020 overdose deaths give a clue.
Is a fentanyl epidemic taking shape? An article from this week’s New York Times paints an excellent picture of how quickly the drug ravages a community. Fentanyl deaths and overdoses are on the rise. The message is clear that fentanyl is the dominant drug threat for 2021. Additionally, increased usage and availability make it a broad-based threat. In fact, the DEA points to increasing supplies in virtually U.S. every region.
In contrast to heroin or methamphetamines, many of the faces of the fentanyl epidemic are younger. With futures ahead. In fact, and dispelling a myth, not all fentanyl deaths are due to tainted cocaine or heroin. Increasingly, E.R. doctors and toxicologists find it standalone in drug overdose victims.
Fentanyl is an invisible opioid.
Because fentanyl is an opioid, it is a sedative. However, it delivers a far greater punch, up to 10X heroin. Coupled with its high addictive potential, it is a drug that quickly takes over a life, or kills. For the most part, the potency is unexpected, recreational users are at high risk and outcomes are tragic.
A point often overlooked by drug program administrators is that this the invisible opioid. To put it differently, fentanyl is invisible to the standard drug test. Consequently, if you don’t explicitly test for this drug you won’t find it. And this is what makes it such a threat. Availability, increasing usage, and a very stealthy drug.
Counterfeit pills are on the rise.
Drug cartels are savvy. To that end, they shifted focus to counterfeit drugs starting a fentanyl pill epidemic. To be sure, profits are the reason; fentanyl is cheap and fake pills are easy to press. Teens and young adults flock to fake xanax or other party drugs pressed from fentanyl putting them at risk for a fentanyl overdose. However, with profits flowing, cartels will only press ahead. According to the DEA, cartels distribute counterfeit pills in nearly every state. Subsequently, increased fentanyl deaths always follow. The DEA and CDC caution:
- 25% of counterfeit pills contain a lethal dose of fentanyl
- Nearly 60% of 2020’s record 93,000 drug overdose deaths involved fentanyl
- 58% of fentanyl overdoses involved NO other drug
If you are concerned that fentanyl may pose a threat, ask us about our unique detection capabilities. Because the faces of the fentanyl epidemic are often younger, fresher, and likely on your campus. Test for fentanyl not only to protect your workplace or campus but also to stay in front of a building wave.