How fentanyl is making the opioid epidemic even worse


This dot represents ten people and this dot represents one hundred people. In 2015, this many died from gun violence in America, this many died in car crashes, but even more Americans died from a drug overdose. 52,000 people. That’s more people than there are seats at Yankee Stadium. More people are dying because of the opioid epidemic: a public health crisis that is causing waves of progressive drug use. First, Americans got hooked on prescription painkillers. Next, addicted users moved on to more potent drugs, like heroin. Now, an increasing number of Americans are overdosing on an even more powerful opioid: “Fentanyl is taking the opioid epidemic to a new level…” “…fentanyl…” “…more potent than heroin…” “Another drug is surging…” “Fentanyl. So potent you could die with the syringe still in your arm.” The explanation for the rise of fentanyl begins in the late 1990s… “Since I’ve been on this new pain medication, I have not missed one day of work and my boss really appreciates that. ‘Lauren is there every day’.” That’s when pharmaceutical companies began advertising new opioids that were supposedly non-addictive. “…but these are the same drugs that have a reputation for causing addiction and other terrible things. They do not have serious medical side effects, and so these drugs, which I repeat: are our best, strongest pain medications, should be used much more than they are for patients in pain.” American doctors started prescribing opioids, like OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin, at record numbers and overdoses began spiking. In the 2000s, the government took steps to limit the supply of prescription pills. Pharmaceutical manufacturers were sued for falsely marketing their products as non-addictive, doctors were prosecuted for overprescribing pain pills, and authorities tightened limits on painkillers. By 2013, prescription drug abuse leveled off as pills became harder to find, but that didn’t help Americans who were already hooked. When addicts couldn’t get pills, they found more dangerous drugs. Many started using heroin, an extremely potent opioid that is made from the sap of the opium poppy. It’s this transition that has led the opioid crisis to epidemic proportions. The Center for Disease Control found that people addicted to prescription painkillers are 40 times more likely to be addicted to heroin. Heroin is more potent than prescription pain pills and therefore more lethal. Soon, heroin overdoses began skyrocketing and as usage became widespread, users with a high tolerance for heroin began seeking even stronger opioids. And that’s part of what led to fentanyl: a synthetic opioid that is more powerful and cheaper to make than heroin. Unlike heroin, fentanyl can easily be made in a lab. It was first developed as an anesthetic for surgeries in the 1960s and later found use as a treatment for chronic pain in the 1990s. Since then, it continues to be approved for restricted medical use and is prescribed for advanced cancer patients. In regulated medical settings, fentanyl is often delivered by injection, or as a patch or lozenge: forms which allow the drug to be dispensed gradually. Similar to other opioids like morphine and heroin, fentanyl sedates the user by reacting with receptors in the brain to release dopamine. But fentanyl is about 100 times more potent than morphine. Drug traffickers have been using it to cut heroin to increase the potency and profits from their product. So heroin addicts can consume fentanyl unknowingly, which increases the chances of an accidental overdose. Exposure to the drug is so dangerous that The CDC requires first responders to wear protective gear when fentanyl is suspected at a scene. “It’s a scary situation….” In Ohio, an unprotected police officer accidentally overdosed after particles of fentanyl settled on his clothing during a traffic stop. “That he would just accidentally bump up against something while he was searching this vehicle, and for him to drop out like that…It’s shocking.” Three years after heroin deaths began to spike, fentanyl overdoses began rising. Already, new opioids are fulfilling the next iteration of this progression. Carfentanil, an opioid used as an elephant tranquilizer, is a growing cause of overdoses in The United States. This photo compares a potentially lethal dose of all three drugs, showing that it could take just a few grains of carfentail to kill someone. The fact that cracking down on prescription painkillers has pushed users to even more dangerous opioids demonstrates the need for better drug policies. In addition to targeting the supply of drugs, providing better treatment options for addiction will reduce the demand for them. In 2016, preliminary estimates of Americans that died by drug overdose are as high as 65,000 people. Experts estimate 2017 will be even worse. As long as people are addicted, they’re going to find ways to satisfy that addiction even if it means using more dangerous drugs, like fentanyl.

100 thoughts on “How fentanyl is making the opioid epidemic even worse

  1. Here's some more information about the police officer who overdosed. As we mentioned, the drug settled on his shirt, but it's unclear how exactly it entered his body. It's been widely reported that he was exposed through his skin, but it may be more likely that he inhaled it.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2017/06/toxicologists_explain_the_medical_impossibility_of_overdosing_by_touching.html
    https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/5/8/15454832/fentanyl-carfentanil-opioid-epidemic

  2. The peace prize goes to .._.._Opiods !!!!!! Killing devils by the thousands.

  3. America is a mess, and everyone is just watching like : sad but fascinating

  4. Do they actually have anyone in charge atthe Washington State Health Care Authority? Sorry to burst your bubble, opioid abuse is not a "disease," it's a choice.

  5. How pharmacies are making the fentanyl epidemic even worse*

  6. Naaah, Oxycodone is more potent by weight than Heroin. Not by much though. And they provide a very similar high, although Heroin hits a bit harder giving a better "rush".

  7. Remember opioids are illegal just like guns would be if liberals were 100% in charge but they still kill people

  8. Opiates and Opioids don't sedate by releasing Dopamine. They sedate my agonizing the MuOpioid receptor, which is also the primary source of their euphoric effects. Opiates decrease the activity of GABA, which in turn inhibits the release of Dopamine. Thus, the release of Dopamine is a side effect of GABA inhibition, albeit a contributing factor to the rewarding effects. Get your facts straight!!!

  9. Not missing work is not worth getting wired to fentanyl…trust me

  10. tons of rehab centers it’s a choice stick the needle in your arm or walk into a clinic you can’t help people who don’t wanna help themselves

  11. Fentanyl is not as potent as a few particles overdosing someone. All of America is gripped in this crisis and the media wants you to believe cops are not overdosing too. Its bullshit! That cop took fentanyl or heroin cut with fentanyl and used this hysteria to cover it up. I am not saying fentanyl isnt deadly, clearly it is very deadly, but don't let first responders fool you, percentage wise just as many if them are addicted as the regular populous.

  12. About 80% of those "gun violence" deaths are suicide per FBI statistics. Nice slant there though. Idiots.

  13. 1980s: Lots of Black people are dieing from Crack overdoses…let's treat this as a criminal issue!

    2010s: Lots of White Hill Billies are dieing from opioid overdoses…let's treat this as a public health issue!

  14. Pretty soon they're gonna blame Black ppl for introducing all of these opiates to european scientists to run wild with.

  15. Doctors "prescribe" these poisons to the community daily. With refills. Americans are dumber than a box of rocks.

  16. Better drug policy: legalize marijuana and make illegal all opiods.

  17. they said the same thing about heroine after morphine addictions in the 19th century

  18. Maybe if painkillers where easier to get we wouldnt have these problems. People are dying because they resort to street drugs that you are kinda spinning a wheel on what your really getting. In amsterdam and stuff all drugs are legal and the death rates are drastically lower. America has this problem about wanting to control everyone and everything because there scared of what MIGHT happen when they never gave us a chance to prove them wrong because they know they are wrong. Painkillers are not bad but the feds want us to believe they are but we already know they arnt. How is something that takes away pain from broken bones bad? Id say it is great.

  19. You abuse your meds you create your own problems. I was on opiates started 8.24. 12 . Got off in Feb didn't see any withdrawal symptoms. Had the fentanyl patch on top of the pills. Didn't see much better improvement from the patch. Maybe slitely I didn't feel much improvement. Like I said if you abuse your meds you created that problem. I know one thing I hert like hell. I hert to move. Live a bitch ha. I hert to sit , stand, walk . I see it's the people out there with the bad habits that ruin it for the few ho really need there meds.

  20. There is no "war on drugs" the war has been lost. Once one drug is outlawed two others appear and more cost to non drug users

  21. – Can you pass me the salt?
    – I don’t have any salt
    – Then what’s that right there?
    it’s carfentanil

  22. Maybe it’s just killing off the idiots. Opioids don’t force themselves on people. People choose to abuse them like fools. Just like alcohol and tobacco.

  23. alcohol kills more people yearly than opiates, ain't nobody trying to ban alcohol

  24. Hi 👋 I’m crying in pain I have tumors on my spine. I’m frustrated because, I need pain relief and my medication is right there but I already took more that what’s left. I refill my script the 20th, and I have 10 pills left. My dr. Can’t increase my medication because he says I should feel lucky I have what he gives me. I wish I had what I need, I’m in pain but, I’m lucky. Lucky that I can’t sit longer than 2 hours, lucky that I can’t stand longer than 4 hours. Lucky 🍀

  25. Someone should do a documentary tracking the people in Purdue ads and see where they are now. I bet most of them are addicts, on the streets, or dead.

  26. I’m using a fentanyl patch right now… it’s like a big warm hug that lasts 3 days. Instead of creating programs to help addicts, it’s “let’s restrict prescriptions that should do it! Oh so they just started buying/stealing pills? Well throw them in jail for 5 years!” How about creating accessible programs to aid addicts since addiction is a mental/psychological disorder instead of criminalizing them? How about offering treatment programs to help them kick the addiction. At the end of the day, those who want the help will get the he help. Those who don’t will be addicts no matter how long you throw them in jail which only ends up worsening the cycle.

  27. It's 80,000 now so good job guys , nobody wants to go to pain management

  28. Nobody cared about the addicts response to the government solutions for prescription painkillers. Even today after 30 years of this epidemic the public and government have zero understanding of addiction until it shows up at home and/or relatives become addicted.

  29. when i was 17 i overdosed on fentanyl, i am almost a month sober and feel better than i ever have and looking forward to a lot in life. To avoid relapsing i moved 6 hours away from where i lived so if i wanted to i can’t even get anything. best decision i ever made

  30. Richmond, VA has been destroyed over heroin… All people want now is hard drugs and they'll do anything to get it…

  31. Why would U.S. want to stop this when they are making so much money?? You give the mafia or a brown person 30 years for conspiracy but the pharmaceutical companies get rich because they contribute to the campaign. I remember when Oxy came out in the 1990s. It was pushed as a Wonder drug.

  32. It's sad addicts are valued more than pain patients. All these policies are helping the black market and hurting those who need opioids. But these days you can't convince anyone that there are people who are not addicts using the drugs. The drugs are not coming from doctors they are coming from manufacturers not subject to American regulation. Thus, all these policies hurt more than they help.

  33. I don’t agree… Vox says, that Heroin Addiction caused addicts to seek stronger drugs. But maybe it’s that drug dealers , trying to make more money substituted synthetic Opiates like fentanyl, into illicit opiate drugs, such as Heroin, or Oxy-contin….

  34. I blame suboxone im on suboxone now i can do 10 bags of fentanyl and it doesn't even do anything??????

  35. We lost 2 children due to heroin. You never come round to accepting it. One aged 17 and the other was aged just 22. Our lives will never recover.

  36. Another undisclosed product of the Free Trade Agreements continuing the tradition of the Bannana Republic and the East India Trading Co, International. Brought to you by the Genocidal Global Elitists. Unfortunately, the common Police Officer making measily dollar-store busts on street level users will not be able to fathom this glaring of historic facts. RIP, to all victims of Genocide and Governmental murder.

  37. Are we just going to ignore that there are as almost as many death from gun violence as there are death from car crashes

  38. They've altered history, created chattle slavery, taken credit for the hard work of others, waged countless proxy wars for resources, and somehow (with the best drugs a reptilian brain can have) are expected to embrace a sober reality? It'll take an exorcism to save them.

  39. In Portugal they decriminalised possession of small amounts of any kind of drug and refocused their resources from persecuting drug users to putting them in rehab and helping them recover. This cut their number of cocaine addicts by half over a few years.
    Who would have thought that treating humans with problems humanely actually worked?

  40. I believe that the massive amounts of Fentanyl being shipping into the USA is part of China's plan to de-stablize and weaken the US economic position in the world so they can assert themselves as dominant. They learned how devastating it can be to a society from the Opium Wars with the UK. They're quite underhanded like this, smile at your face but scheming a take down behind ur back. They've already bought out & own many large energy & resource companies in Australia & UK..I'm not sure about the US but in the end it will all come down to how they infiltrate & slowly assert power to the point where they have so much power & influence that they end up controlling local govs & councils, unbelievably our governments have been happy to sellout their national assets esp in Oz where they've sold off natural resources, farmland & properties for their own profit. I feel incredibly sorry for these addicts & I'm afraid a lot of these people unfortunately got caught up in as pawns in big game of chess.

  41. my mom died from a fentanyl overdose in 2015, she was 29. i'm trying to learn about it now, 4 years later.

  42. I don’t believe the China thing. Big Pharma puts fent in the streets

  43. Why would it need to come from china when the US is the number 1 producer. Com'on now, if you think this is an accident or china's fault you've got rocks in your head.

  44. We got too many people on earth, how to spread it world wide…….quitely…..

    Doctor dont give us, we take it from the street.

  45. They did it to themselves. It's not an epidemic. That implies it's a disease. It's a choice.

  46. And about three times that died from alcohol. And about four times that died from tobacco.

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