Deadly fentanyl behind America’s dramatic doubling of synthetic opioid death rates
- Rachel Connolly 31 JANUARY 2018 • 10:20AM
President Donald Trump took a few minutes in his State of the Union address to acknowledge what he called the ”terrible crisis of opioid and drug addiction – never been has it been like it is now”.
The American President told Congress that “we have to do something about it”, stating that 174 drug-addiction caused deaths a day meant that ”we must get much tougher on drug dealers and pushers”.
This should come as no surprise. The crisis, which claimed well over 100,000 lives between 2015 and 2016, is now so widespread and catastrophic it was declared a public health emergency by President Trump in October.
The rate of American deaths caused by overdoses of heroin-like synthetic opioids has doubled since 2015, in a tragic symptom of the opioid epidemic ravaging the United States.
The US’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has published figures showing that the rate of deaths due to synthetic opioids excluding methadone, such as fentanyl and tramadol, jumped from 3.1 per 100,000 in 2015 to 6.2 per 100,000 in 2016.
The total number of deaths due to opioid overdoses also climbed from 52,400 to 63,600, a 21 per cent increase – marking a steady rise since 1999.
Synthetic opioids are the biggest killers
The dramatic rise in the use of synthetic opioids owes more to practicality than demand, Dr David Herzberg, a University of Buffalo expert in the history of drug addiction, told The Telegraph.
“Fentanyl [the most widely used synthetic opioid] is much easier to smuggle than heroin because you need less of it,” he said.
Since synthetic opioids are made in labs rather than from plants, like traditional heroin, they can be made anywhere in the world, and vary dramatically in strength.
Fentanyl is around 50 times stronger than heroin – and some new strains are up to 10,000 times stronger
For complete story FentanylFrenzy