Where could the future of addiction be headed? Well if you happen to look at the latest headlines, the answer may be: A very dangerous place. In today’s world, more and more people are finding themselves dependent on manufactured drugs (which contain strains of multiple substances). And that can certainly lead to some deadly consequences, as we’ve seen with America’s rising overdose fatality rate. So where does it all stand today? If you were to ask the writers from Buzzfeed, they would say that we’re in the midst of a “synthetic drug crisis.”
CDC epidemiologist Jon Zibbel spoke to the popular news site about the current state of addiction. He believes we live in a dangerous time when it comes to substance abuse. Drugs are now much harsher and more fatal than they’ve been in generations past.
“This is not your father’s drug market anymore,” Zibbell told Buzzfeed reporter Dan Vergano. “What we are really seeing is people now using multiple drugs, and stronger synthetic drugs of all kinds.”
Zibbell brought up stimulants and particularly the synthetic opioid fentanyl in his interview with the site. As we have mentioned in our blogs many times before, street strains of fentanyl have been known to include cocaine and meth; making them much more lethal than people realize. Zibbell also hit upon that fact, emphasizing that it has become the leading cause of fatal overdoses nationwide.
In the past few months, the meth/fentanyl combination has become much more prominent. Cabell-Huntington Health Department physician Dr. Michael Kilkenny shared research stats with Buzzfeed, which illustrated that “fentanyl and methamphetamine are now the most commonly co-occurring drugs found in drug death cases.” The east coast has been hit especially hard by these strains, with drastic overdose increases across states like New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine.
And there are also stern warnings for the reverse. Cocaine, for example, can now commonly be laced with fentanyl. Many users don’t imagine they’d overdose after trying the drug once. But unbeknownst to them, the laced stimulant can be as much as 100 times more potent and instantly kill a person with a weaker heart.
Another warning was issued for the synthetic opioid carfentanil, which is part of the same family but much more dangerous. It has been known to cause violent seizures, striking down partiers and 20-somethings across the nation. We certainly want to make sure these messages get out and people who even “casually use” become aware. Even if you think your habit may not be that serious, please work on getting clean before a catastrophe occurs.