Is Fentanyl Being Mixed With Cocaine?
Fentanyl has two types: pharmaceutical and illicitly manufactured. Both types are considered synthetic opioids.
Pharmaceutical fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid sometimes prescribed for severe pain. Actiq, Duragesic, and Sublimaze also treat chronic severe pain when other opioids are no longer effective and pain from cancer. At one point, fentanyl was mainly used to assist with anesthesia; however, it has made its way out of the clinical setting.
50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, illicit drug users will usually tell you fentanyl is significantly stronger and better than heroin. Fentanyl has a high potential for addiction, and overdose and reports indicate is being laced with cocaine for a lethal cocktail.
More About Cocaine Laced With Fentanyl
The opioid epidemic in the United States affects a completely different class of drugs now, cocaine. Over the last ten years, federal data has shown a spike in fentanyl and cocaine overdose deaths. In 2012, 180 of the 4,400 overdose deaths involving cocaine also involved fentanyl. In 2016 that number rose to an astonishing 4,200 out of 10,400 total overdose deaths involving cocaine and fentanyl. Heroin and cocaine overdose deaths also increased, but not nearly as quickly.
Drug policy experts at Stanford University state that no one knows what is going on? There could be several explanations for this huge increase. The first explanation could be that users are mixing cocaine and fentanyl purposely. A “speedball” mixes heroin and cocaine to get a much more euphoric high or experience. If heroin is cut with fentanyl, the person may unknowingly do it and experience a fatal overdose.
Another explanation is that dealers or traffickers may purposely mix cocaine and fentanyl, and the buyer purchases the tainted cocaine without knowing. In addition, more and more cocaine drug seizures have been tested recently and come back positive for the deadly drug.
Statistics on Cocaine and Fentanyl Abuse
Another possible explanation brought to the table is that drug dealers or traffickers are accidentally mixing cocaine and fentanyl. For instance, using the same space or area to cut different batches of cocaine and fentanyl without cleaning the area first could lead to accidental cross-contamination.
Which of the three explanations is the most likely, experts at Stanford aren’t sure. However, in 2018, according to the DEA:
There was an increase in samples of cocaine that contained fentanyl of 112%. And in Florida, where cocaine is particularly prevalent, the DEA reported widespread adulteration of cocaine with fentanyl and fentanyl-tainted substances. (DEA)
The DEA and law enforcement agencies believe that drug traffickers purposely mix cocaine and fentanyl to make it more profitable. Adding fentanyl results in a more powerful high with a more addictive substance. This helps these traffickers gain a much larger base of repeat customers at the expense of their lives.
Cocaine with Fentanyl is Deadly
Fentanyl is easily manufactured in clandestine labs. Since it is rather cheap to make and weighs much less than heroin or any other illicit drug, it is much easier to smuggle. For this very reason, many illicit drugs are now being laced with fentanyl.
Heroin is the primary drug you hear most about, usually laced with fentanyl. It has caused more overdose deaths in the United States than any other drug. However, fentanyl is now showing up in cocaine, Xanax, and other pain medications like OxyContin and Percocet.
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