Fentanyl deaths surging across U.S.

fentanylDeadly fentanyl, the prescription opioid blamed for the accidental death of Prince, appears to be fueling a nationwide surge in overdose-related fatalities, ScienceNews.com reports.

Fentanyl is described by drugabuse.gov thus: “a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic similar to morphine but 50 to 100 times more potent.”

According to the government website, fentanyl is a “Schedule II prescription drug used to treat patients with severe pain, or to manage pain for a period after surgery.”

Fentanyl, like other opioids, binds to the body’s opioid receptors, an area of the brain that controls pain and emotions.

Fentanyl drives up the brain’s dopamine levels to induce a state of euphoria and relaxation.

Forty times stronger than heroin, fentanyl has been used since the 1960s to manage severe, chronic pain among people who have become tolerant of drugs such as OxyContin and morphine.

Often given to cancer patients, the euphoria-inducing painkiller must be administered gradually in small doses—too much fentanyl can quickly paralyze the muscles of the chest wall, causing people to stop breathing.

Deadly fentanyl can also result in nausea, confusion, drowsiness, constipation, addiction, unconsciousness, arrest, coma and even death.

Clearly fentanyl use requires trusted professionals to do the administering!

But that isn’t what’s happening lately. Big Pharma fentanyl and its non-pharma copycats, frequently produced in clandestine labs, have become a street drug of choice, particularly since Prince’s death.

Popular street names for deadly fentanyl include China Girl, China White, Apache, White Dance Fever, Goodfella, TNT, Jackpot, Tango and Cash, according to the government website.

Apparently, those are familiar monikers to the trendy dancers on the dark side looking for a little excitement and euphoric relief from their boring lives.

But euphoria isn’t always what they get.

Fentanyl-related deaths have soared 93 percent last year in Pennsylvania and 83 percent in Maryland, according to The Week.

In Akron, Ohio, there were recently 23 lethal fentanyl overdoses in a month, and another 14 occurred in a similar time frame in Sacramento, California.

In just a four-hour period in Huntington, W. Virginia last month, 28 overdoses of fentanyl took place, but no deaths, thanks to immediate reporting and quick-acting medics.

All kinds of deadly fentanyl versions appear on the street: powder sometimes mixed with heroin, sometimes on blotter paper absorbed through the mucous membranes.

‘The fix’ can be snorted, injected, or swallowed in pill form. Choose your poison—which it often is.

“The wave of overdoses is “horrendous,” said Daniel Ciccarone, a physician specializing in addiction at the University of California, San Francisco.

Because fentanyl can be made cheaply and easily, Ciccarone is afraid it’s “here to stay.”

Thank you, Big Pharma, for yet another powerful synthetic innovation that has gone tragically awry.

Meanwhile we continue to emote over simple medical or ‘illicit’ marijuana, which is not deadly and can actually be used to help people.