Fentanyl killing thousands of people a year, and its powerful highs are attracting others

U.S. lives are being lost at an accelerating rate to synthetic drugs like fentanyl, the CNN reported. The number of reported deaths attributed to fentanyl rose by 146 percent in the first six months…

Fentanyl killing thousands of people a year, and its powerful highs are attracting others

U.S. lives are being lost at an accelerating rate to synthetic drugs like fentanyl, the CNN reported. The number of reported deaths attributed to fentanyl rose by 146 percent in the first six months of this year alone, with the majority of those incidents taking place in Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that’s 10 to 50 times more potent than heroin.

According to Thomas Ahern, director of policy and research at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the most recent statistics on fentanyl-related deaths show the death toll from it is on track to eclipse all other drug deaths combined by the end of 2020.

The NIDA is hosting its fourth biennial National Drug Control Conference, which will focus on fentanyl, Friday through Sunday in Washington, D.C.

Fentanyl’s surge in popularity is partly due to its high profits, which are quickly realized by its unscrupulous manufacturers.

“This is poison. This is a flood coming at us,” Dr. Prabhjot Singh, one of the co-founders of Indian American nonprofit The Society for Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, told the CNN. Singh founded the organization, which focuses on the work of toxicologists, with his brother after they attended a Harvard University toxicology symposium on opioids.

The main reason for fentanyl’s rise is the culmination of two trends in illegal drug markets. First, opioids like fentanyl have been cheaper to produce, in part because of changes in technology that make it easier to purify the chemical.

Researchers have also noted the “perfect storm” that has created a worldwide fentanyl epidemic.

“The current trend of this convergence of all these really lethal drugs and a more accessible supply…a global supply is what’s driving this,” Dr. Timothy Walsh, associate chief of the NIDA’s poisons section, told the CNN.

Experts predict that fentanyl, a cheaper alternative to heroin and methamphetamines, will continue to flourish in the U.S. The drug now costs as little as $25 per gram in eastern Europe, researchers told the CNN.

Every second that a fentanyl pill is made and sold, hundreds of people are likely taken. An average of 100 people a day are estimated to die from illicit fentanyl overdoses.

Last month, a California man admitted to making over a million fentanyl pills, and others are reportedly following suit.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the vast majority of people who die from opioid overdoses are experiencing their first time using the drug.

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