The United States has become, over the last few decades, a battleground for the heroin epidemic. Hundreds upon thousands are dying every day due to a massive explosion of fatal injections of heroin and its synthetic derivatives, Fentanyl and Carfentanil. Chemically, the differences between the three are small, but socially and fatally, the derivatives have quickly become one of the fastest growing body count agents in the country.
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Heroin – The Numbers
To start, it is now proven that in the last ten years, deaths due to drug poisoning have gone far beyond deaths by car accidents and shootings. Heroin-related deaths increase by 439% from the end of 1999 to the beginning of 2015. Since then, numbers have shown no signs of stopping. According to the Center for Disease Control, “The United States is in the midst of a drug overdose epidemic. More people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than in any other year on record. Deaths from drug overdose are up among both men and women, all races, and adults of nearly all ages. More than three out of five drug overdose deaths involve an opioid. Overdose deaths from opioids, including prescription opioids and heroin, have nearly quadrupled since 1999. Overdoses involving opioids killed more than 28,000 people in 2014. Over half of those deaths were from prescription opioids.”
Heroin has been around for centuries, originally derived from the Poppy plant, opium has been used throughout eastern cultures as a sacred medicine to treat a vast array of health qualms. However, over the last hundred or so years, it has had a tumultuous journey in the United States, going from an everyday over the counter cough suppressant, to the number one most fatal drug on the streets, the rise of Heroin has had an impact on every single county in the country.
Although heroin had been exposed for its wildly addictive qualities decades ago, it remained present throughout underground drug trades and was only really used by “the lowest” members of society. However, with the widespread production of Oxycontin in the early 90’s, people of all different financial backgrounds, age groups, genders, and occupations have been shocked to find that they are addicted to a derivative of Morphine (heroin). When the prescription pills were found to be addictive and became harder to get ahold of, many long time opioid users found themselves straying into a world they never imagined themselves in, a world of heroin. It’s cheaper, more potent, and can be found on just about any street corner these days. While heroin had been taking people to an early grave for some time, it has nothing on the destructive power of its synthetic cousins.
Fentanyl is a prescription medication that was created for medical patients who suffered from severe, crippling pain due to cancer and extremely invasive surgeries. It was created with the idea that it would be administered solely by a doctor until it began to be sold as an over the counter prescription that could be picked up at any pharmacy or drugstore. It is often sold as a lollipop or a lozenge, and even a time-release gel patch. The dangers of fentanyl on the streets is that the minimal difference between a professionally administered dose, and one performed by an amateur, can be immediately fatal – resulting in cardiac arrest. Fentanyl was created to treat breakthrough pain, meaning a patient who was already taking opiates, could be administered fentanyl if they were still experiencing discomfort, AKA, fentanyl was created to be STRONGER than the original opioid they were taking. The potency is said to be 100 times greater than morphine.
Carfentanil is an analog synthetic version of Fentanyl, created to be more potent, and cheaper. Reports show that it is 10,000 times more potent than morphine, 4,000 times more potent than heroin, and 1,000 times more potent than Fentanyl. It was created for veterinary practices to anesthetize large animals, such as horses and elephants. However, people have been trafficking the drug into the states via China in large amounts, and have been cutting it into bags of heroin to turn a profit. It has quietly slipped into every city and small town across the country. In a single weekend, Cincinnati recorded 30 overdoses, followed by another 78, along with three deaths within a 48-hour period in the subsequent days. That is simply one city alone. Since the widespread introduction of Carfentanil, overdose rates have shot up to terrifying new heights. The most elusive aspect of the drug is that it looks like regular table salt, however, only a few granules are enough to be fatal.
The alarming rates of overdose due to Heroin, Fentanyl, and Carfentanil have finally started to shake the stigma of drug addiction across the country. Although it comes as a devastating blow to our society, the national and local governments have finally started to make changes toward providing help to those suffering from addiction. It is no longer just a secret, back-alley problem that only affected the unloved, and the unwanted. Addiction has become an epidemic and has touched the lives of every person in the country, in one way or another. Local governments have felt the blow of addiction, and it has shown in the dramatic increase of boots on the ground in the fight to save lives, with Paramedics, Firefighters, and Police across the country. Videos online and on the news show more people suffering from addiction than ever before. Heroin, Fentanyl, and Carfentanil have become the fastest growing genocide agents in recent history, but there is always another option.
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