HEROIN AND FENTANYL: OHIO IN THE DOLDRUMS.
Breaking news reports are becoming a staple on television sets in Ohio. Every night, the news is peppered with a report of an overdose. Reminiscent of the crack cocaine epidemic, Ohio seems to be in a vortex of drugs and death.
According to authorities, at some point, it started off with ten overdoses, fluctuating to 15. While it appeared that the menace seemed to be getting nipped in the bud, casualties suddenly skyrocketed to 25, sometimes 29. In six days, 174 cases were reported. However, these overdoses are not a mystery to the authorities. When such a case is reported, all eyes immediately get trained on Heroin, an epidemic that has rippled through Ohio.
Heroin has become a pain in Cincinnati residents’ backsides in recent memory as the drug that is being circulated through the area seems to be leaving a longer trail of unconscious bodies in the wake of its fumes. In other Ohio towns, cartels are finding ways to smuggle in the drugs. In Cincinnati, it is believed that these suppliers even gave out free samples of the cheap drug. For the world’s most addictive drug, most of the people who got hooked needed just one hit. Some ended up in the emergency room while the more unfortunate ones got a one-way ride to the morgue.
Heroin, a derivative of morphine needs no introduction as a lethal drug. With its adverse effects on the brain, it is no wonder that fatalities or lasting effects are so commonplace. Whether it is snorted, injected or smoked, heroin is a dangerous drug that has left or still has entire populations in its characteristic nod.
Heroin and Fentanyl Mix is Deadly…
On its own, heroin is an addictive, destructive drug, decimating families and leaving struggling users in its wake. However, medical professionals are now faced with another problem, laced heroin. In a move that has blindsided authorities and first responders alike, the heroin in distribution contains traces or equal measures of the powerful painkiller Fentanyl.
They Say “CarFentanyl is the ingredient killing people”.
Going by street names such as Apache, Murder 8 and TNT, Fentanyl is a schedule 2 prescription drug that is usually prescribed to patients suffering extreme instances of pain. Tracing its roots to the late 50s, Fentanyl was chemically altered to what is known popularly as China White. The drug is extremely potent, exceeding Morphine’s potency by anything between 50 to 100. When laced with heroin, the high that the cocktail delivers is a nightmare known all too well by first responders.
Fentanyl’s effect mirrors that of Heroin by giving users a state of euphoria and relaxation. However, much like Heroin, its use could also cause the part of the brain responsible for breathing to be unresponsive to impulses, hence users tend to stop breathing. If the user survives the change in brain function, there could be permanent damage due to a condition known as hypoxia.
Is there an underlying cause for the overdoses?
There are scores of solutions for pain on the streets. Drug manufacturers churn out powerful pain relievers that promise to mask the pain. However, the human anatomy is built to build up a tolerance for any corrective substance. When drugs like Hydrocodone fail, it is possible that in the race to try and find alternatives, users encounter drugs like Fentanyl. Available for a lower price, the laced drug is made available who wants it and has the money to walk the talk.
Some users start using heroin earlier, but as the body builds a tolerance for it, they need more of the drug to attain the same effect. As a result, when there’s a mixture of heroin and Fentanyl on the streets, epidemics like the one in Ohio are bound to happen.
Arrested distributors make no secret of the fact that users prefer the more toxic version, even going as far as saying that the overdose cases serve to amplify the drug’s reputation and subsequent sales.
Is there hope for the #overdose situation?
Draining the contents of that syringe, cutting up and snorting that powder, or smoking the lethal combination can be pinned down to a mistake. For some lucky people, there is an antidote that may give these users another lease at life. Naloxone, known as Narcan, has been administered to so many overdosed users that it is now available without a prescription. In a time when the heroin and Fentanyl combo causes more death than accidents, Narcan is a light at the end of the tunnel for some users.
Be that as it may, first responders are facing yet another problem even with doses of the antidote. Narcan’s efficacy is reduced when administered to counter the effects of the double dread drug combo. With the addiction numbers going through the roof, there seems to be collective worry all over the country as frantic efforts are made to try and stem this drug monster.
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