Growing Concern in National News – A Dramatic Rise in Heroin Related Deaths
Within the past year, heroin overdose deaths have been significantly on the rise, but what is not known is how many are actually the result of a lethal dose of heroin. Many deaths that had been reported were not autopsied and so the amount of deaths that were really the result of heroin, itself, is now known. What is being observed at the moment is that a growing number of these deaths which on the surface seem to be a fatal dose of heroin by injection, are actually the result of that illicit drug being laced with fentanyl. Fentanyl is known to be 50 times more powerful than morphine and an amount the size of just two or three grains of table salt can be lethal.
Previously Held Theories
Statistically, many addicts who don’t actually make it all the way through recovery programs and who have died within the past year or two, were thought to have taken more than their recovering body could handle after a long abstinence. Many deaths attributed to heroin OD were said to be the result of stressing the body that had been clean for a prolonged period of time, leading to cardiac arrest.
Few autopsies were conducted in the beginning which led to the theory that addicts were coming out of recovery too soon and upon using for that first time, hit their bodies with more than they could handle having built up resistance. Unfortunately, not all programs are like one Los Angeles long term heroin rehab program that continues on with the recovering addict after care in-house. Follow-up treatment is rare in many cases, but with the growing number of addicts hitting the streets again, LA is making a concerted effort to stay with addicts for longer throughout recovery.
Ohio Leads the Pack
In 2016 Ohio emerged as the state with the most deaths by overdose as a result of drugs laced with fentanyl. Those numbers are growing in Ohio, keeping it a forerunner in fentanyl related deaths and the scary thing is, many of those deaths are not related to heroin at all. Some are getting black market fentanyl brought in from China and it is being pressed into counterfeit look-alike opioid pills. Some are so realistic that they are passing for name brand pharmaceuticals. The DEA is adding more agents to their task force and it is a growing concern that current efforts are ineffective against the sheer amount being shipped illegally into the US as compared to the very minute amount necessary to create a lethal dose.
Whether an addict lives in California or Ohio, it is imperative that all addicts be apprised of this potentially deadly situation. While there is no immediate solution to stopping the entry of Chinese fentanyl, what can be encouraged is that addicts seek professional help in their quest towards recovery. Abstinence is the only real solution and that assumes professional help in recovery. Rather than play with our life, if you are an addict, seek help today. Street drugs are not closely monitored pharmaceuticals so being aware of the problem just could save your life. Again, seek help before it really is too late.