We have talked many times at this point about the damaging effects that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on people with mental health disorders and addiction (substance use disorder). We talked yesterday about the beginnings of the opioid crisis, which is the shift in the US from a population that primarily abuses alcohol to a population that has large numbers of opioid addictions along with alcohol and methamphetamine problems. A documentary on HBO Max called “Crime of the Century” discusses the ways in which drug makers and bad doctors worked together to get people hooked on Oxycontin, and those people were forced to turn to street drugs when their government took away the prescription drugs without a clear plan for treating all the new patients with opioid dependency. Now, as we come out of the worst days of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are gathering more information on what the current opioid crisis looks like. One of the main reasons this problem is more devastating than almost any other issue faced by our nation is the prevalence of Fentanyl and Fentanyl analogs on the streets of the United States. The US government has found no practical approach to addressing the supply issues that fentanyl poses. The drugs are easily sent or carried from China and Mexico and elsewhere into the United States, and only a fraction of the drugs that are sent need to reach this country in order to spike the overdose rates. This is because fentanyl is used by people who also use heroin and oxycontin, but it is many times stronger than those other opioids and most people do not know when they are doing fentanyl.
The Deadliest Drug in America
Fentanyl is easily the deadliest illegal drug in America today. Heroin overdoses are reported constantly in major cities and in rural and suburban areas, but most of those overdoses involve fentanyl once testing is done on the substance involved. A study that I looked at for this article tells the story of why we are losing so many people to overdose deaths. The study comes from the journal “Drug and Alcohol Dependence”. The researchers undertook an incredible 50 state study, and they were able to gather results from urine tests of patients seeking health care for various reasons. The results come from both before and during the Covid-19 pandemic. Nearly 41% of patients who were positive for fentanyl were also positive for at least one fentanyl analog. Many analogs of fentanyl or many times more deadly that fentanyl on its own. The scariest result is the almost 5% of cases where Carfentanil was found. Carfentanil is a fentanyl analog with no human medical use. It is used to put elephants asleep for surgery, and it is many many times deadlier than Fentanyl. Fentanyl causes deadly overdoses all over the country every day, but Carfentanil will cause overdoses that human beings cannot survive. The fact that Carfentanil percentages are increasing everywhere and are already over 4% should alarm everyone who lives here, and it should be another reason for lawmakers to take notice and make changes to the way we approach the war on drugs. If you or a loved one needs drug and alcohol treatment near Panama City, Florida, please call our counselors today.
By T.A. Cannon (Contact me at TACannonWriting@gmail.com)
STANTON, J. D. et al. Fentanyl analog positivity among near-real-time urine drug test results in patients seeking health care. Drug and alcohol dependence, [s. l.], v. 217, p. 108264, 2020. DOI 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2020.108264. Disponível em: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mnh&AN=32980789&authtype=geo&geocustid=s8475741&site=ehost-live&scope=site. Acesso em: 13 maio. 2021.