Carfentanil, The Elephant Tranquilizer Causing Major Destruction.
It only takes about 5 milligrams (a fraction of the size of a baby aspirin) which is strong enough to take down a one-ton elephant. Scratch that, it can take down about five of them at once, and it’s readily available and distributed through illicit sales in many cases without the buyer knowing about it. It’s now one of the leading causes of overdose death in the United States. In 2015 Carfentanil claimed 33,000 lives out of 52,000+ overdose deaths. Carfentanil first made headline news in Ohio mid-2016 and has been advancing its destructive power throughout the U.S. like a wild fire. It’s so bad that now they have what some have donned “Grey Death” where just touching it can put you into overdose. It’s at the point now that when a person leaves addiction treatment with a history of heroin addiction police must be called to notify them of suicidal behavior on behalf of the client/patient.
Pain Management or Acute Painkiller Addiction Never Starts with Fentanyl
The typical way one get prescribed Fentanyl is if they’re on their last leg of life or in so much pain that morphine can’t help. Most of the time a prescription painkiller habit starts with Oxycontin or Roxicodone. Once they become dependent on those medications and they stop working one may be moved up to morphine and Fentanyl patches for extremely high pain levels or for people going through chemotherapy. However, Carfentanil is only used to sedate extremely large animals and won’t be used unless there are no other options available.
Here we are in our present day and time with the heroin pandemic still in its upswing and dealers are lacing the heroin with Carfentanil or just using Carfentanil “only” within bags and caps (packaging for the drug). This wreaks devastating consequences for the first-time user or the user that has been away from the opiates all together for a while, because it’s instant death. Many first responders report that it takes about 2-5 hits with Narcan the Overdose reversal drug to bring people back if they’re found in time. Carfentanil is so cheap that it’s used as an additive on the street. I read an article the other day where someone bought street Xanax. It was laced with Carfentanil; he was dead within minutes. This same scenario has repeated itself throughout the country, as drug dealers seek to convert a small amount of Carfentanyl, into a large amount of sale-able product, mixing it with ‘whatever is available’, solely to line their pockets with addicts’ money.
Carfentanil is also a concern for first responders. It is odorless, colorless and can be absorbed via skin contact, inhalation, oral exposure or ingestion. EMS crews typically wear protective gloves and masks because a dose as small as a grain of salt could kill a person even if just absorbed through the skin, much like Anthrax.
“Fentanyl can kill you,” Riley said. “Fentanyl is being sold as heroin in virtually every corner of our country. It’s produced clandestinely in Mexico, and (also) comes directly from China. It is 40 to 50 times stronger than street-level heroin. A very small amount ingested, or absorbed through your skin, can kill you.”
Two Atlantic County, NJ detectives were recently exposed to a very small amount of fentanyl, and appeared on the video. Said one detective: “I thought that was it. I thought I was dying. It felt like my body was shutting down.” Riley also admonished police to skip testing on the scene, and encouraged them to also remember potential harm to police canines during the course of duties. “Don’t field test it in your car, or on the street, or take if back to the office. Transport it directly to a laboratory, where it can be safely handled and tested.” The video can be accessed at: http://go.usa.gov/chBgh.
Cited from – https://www.dea.gov/divisions/hq/2016/hq092216.shtml
Opioid Related Emergencies are Overwhelming the Country:
- Minnesota Incidents up 13.3 %
- Ohio Incidents up 20 %
- Connecticut Incidents 11.6 %
- Massachusetts Incidents 26.9 %
- New York Incidents 13.3
- North Carolina Incidents 17 %
- Tennessee Incidents 12.8
Heroin-Related Overdose Deaths
As heroin use has increased, so have heroin-related overdose deaths:
- Heroin-related overdose deaths have more than quadrupled since 2010.
- From 2014 to 2015, heroin overdose death rates increased by 20.6%, with nearly 13,000 people dying in 2015.
- In 2015, males aged 25-44 had the highest heroin death rate at 13.2 per 100,000, which was an increase of 22.2% from 2014.
The growth in Native American communities is by far the worst at 32.7 percent. 50 people recently overdosed in one day alone in Philadelphia, which experienced 35 overdose related deaths over five days. Cincinnati had 174 overdoses in six days, Cleveland 46 in one day and tiny Akron 236 over 20 consecutive days. In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency after opioids killed nearly 1,500 residents in the first nine months of 2016. The US represents just 4.6 percent of the world’s population, yet we consume 80 percent of its opioids.
So where is the Carfentanil Coming from You Might Ask?
The largest online illegal prescription pharmaceutical dealers are India and China in the early 2000’s. Distribution rings in the Caribbean and South America have been buying out these pharmacies through the black market for years and reselling it to the cartels for redistribution throughout the United States. There are many articles online listing the main major roadways they use to distribute throughout the country. After recent pressure from the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), China clamped down on bootleg opioid operations to curb the flow of illicit drugs into the US. Yet, the Mexican drug-lords are resourceful. They’re already lining up new operations and manufacturers to keep the money coming in.
According to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there were 52,404 total deaths in 2015, or 144 drug overdose deaths per day. This number is up 11.4 percent in just one year — from 129 a day in 2014. As recently as 10 years ago, gun related deaths outnumbered drug overdose deaths by a factor of 5-to-1. Today more people die from opioids than guns and traffic accidents combined. It is estimated that 600 people try heroin for the first time each and every day.
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About the Writer, Peter D.
Peter Dimaira is the online researcher and writer for Bright Futures Recovery Center. Peter has years of experience in journalism and joined the Bright Futures team to spread awareness about addiction, alcoholism and provide better resources on the treatment of drugs and alcohol.