Fentanyl was involved in almost 29 percent of all overdose deaths in 2016, making it the most commonly used drug involved in overdose fatalities, according to a new report by...
Fentanyl was involved in almost 29 percent of all overdose deaths in 2016, making it the most commonly used drug involved in overdose fatalities, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- The rate of drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl jumped by about 113 percent each year from 2013 through 2016, CNN reports.
- The total number of drug overdose deaths increased 54 percent each year between 2011 and 2016. There were 63,632 drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2016.
- Most overdoses involved more than one drug, the CDC found. Two-fifths of cocaine-related overdose deaths in 2016 also involved fentanyl, and almost one-third of fentanyl-related overdoses also involved heroin. More than one-fifth of meth-related fatal overdoses also involved heroin.
1. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin or morphine. It is a schedule II prescription drug typically used to treat patients with severe pain or to manage pain after surgery. It is also sometimes used to treat patients with chronic pain who are physically tolerant to other opioids. In its prescription form, fentanyl is known by such names as Actiq®, Duragesic® and Sublimaze®.
What is Schedule 2 (II) ?
The drug has a high potential for abuse. The drug has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions. Abuse of the drug may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
2. It is relatively cheap to produce, increasing its presence in illicit street drugs. Dealers use it to improve their bottom line. According to a report from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, evidence suggests that fentanyl is being pressed into pills that resemble OxyContin, Xanax, hydrocodone and other sought-after drugs, as well as being cut into heroin and other street drugs. A loved one buying illicit drugs may think they know what they’re getting, but there’s a
real risk of it containing fentanyl, which can prove deadly.
3. Naloxone (Narcan) will work in case of overdose, but extra doses may be needed. Because fentanyl is far more powerful than other opioids, the standard 1-2 doses of naloxone may not be enough. Calling 911 is the first step in responding to any overdose, but in the case of a fentanyl-related overdose the help of emergency responders, who will have more naloxone, is critical. Learn more about naloxone and responding to opioid overdose .
4. Even if someone could tell a product had been laced with fentanyl, it may not prevent their use. Some individuals claim they can tell the difference between product that has been laced with fentanyl and that which hasn’t, but overdose statistics would say otherwise. Some harm reduction programs are offering test strips to determine whether heroin has been cut with fentanyl, but that knowledge may not be much of a deterrent to a loved one who just spent their last dollar to get high.
5. Getting a loved one into treatment is more critical than ever. If you need help in determining a course of action, please reach out to one of our parent counselors on our free Parent Helpline. Learn more about all the ways you can connect with our free and confidential services and begin getting one-on-one help.