Opioids account for more than half of drug overdose deaths, the leading cause of death for American adults under 50. Increased rates of laced synthetic opioids such as Fentanyl are leading to more overdoses.
According to the CDC, relating to opioids, there are over 130 overdoses daily*. The asterisk being that the true number is unknown. Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them. Between 8 and 12 percent develop an opioid use disorder. An estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin. People who are addicted will take dangerous measures to get their drugs. This could include sharing needles, doing illegal activity for drug money, or finding and taking fake pills. The problem with fake – or cut – pills, is that they can be laced with deadly ingredients such as Fentanyl. Fentanyl is used in small doses in hospitals for patients with advanced cancer pain. That is because Fentanyl is very potent, even in the smallest doses.
Pharmaceutical fentanyl is a synthetic opioid pain reliever, approved for treating severe pain, typically advanced cancer pain. It is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. It is prescribed in the form of transdermal patches or lozenges and can be diverted for misuse and abuse in the United States. However, most recent cases of fentanyl-related harm, overdose, and death in the U.S. are linked to illegally made fentanyl. It is sold through illegal drug markets for its heroin-like effect. It is often mixed with heroin and/or cocaine as a combination product—with or without the user’s knowledge—to increase its euphoric effects.
The unfortunate reality of the opioid crisis is that it could be prevented. Back in the 1990’s when painkillers first started, big pharma, specifically Purdue Pharma who created Oxycontin, promised doctors that their products were safe and non-addictive. Shortly after we found out that was false, after high reports of addictions, overdoses, and death. Big pharma pushes its doctors to use their products, even though the drugs are highly addictive. The most important thing to big pharma is getting sales, not helping lives.