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CDC: Street-Deaths Caused By Illegal Fentanyl

Posted by Jane Akre
Friday, July 25, 2008 11:57 AM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family, In The Workplace
Tags: Fentanyl, Duragesic, Actiq, Sublimaze, Dangerous Drugs, Illegal Drugs, FDA and Prescription Drugs, Toxic Substances

Fentanyl made illegally responsible for more than 1,000 deaths, the CDC finds. 

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IMAGE SOURCE:© iStockphoto/ drug abuse/ author: EasyBuy4u 

 

An illegal version of the painkiller, fentanyl, caused a two-year wave of deaths killing more than 1,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC was attempting to uncover what led to a rash of fatal overdoses seen in several cities between 2005 and 2007 before there was a crackdown on the illegal drug.  

The results appear in the Morbidity and Mortality weekly report of the CDC.

Fentanyl  (Actiq, Sublimaze, and Duragesic) is often prescribed for cancer patients and people in severe pain who cannot tolerate  morphine. While the drug is often prescribed in a lollipop or a patch, many of the illegal drug deaths resulted from injecting the painkiller.

The fatalities resembled those from street drugs such as heroin, and fentanyl was being substituted for heroin or being mixed with cocaine. 

The drug can produce a range of effects from euphoria, to nausea, coma, and death.

The first cluster of deaths were seen in Camden, N.J.. Chicago had the most deaths with 349, followed by Detroit (230). Other deaths were reported in Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Delaware, according to the CDC. 

While many deaths were likely unreported, the official tally is at least 1,013 deaths due to the illegal fentanyl.

The report chronicles finding many drug-users with the needle still in their arm, dying before even completing injecting the powerful drug.

Author of the CDC report, Dr. Stephen Jones tells Reuters, "I think this is an extraordinary episode of fatal drug overdoses. But it's got to be recognized as part of the bigger problem of the increasing numbers of drug overdose deaths in the United States."

The U.S. shut down a fentanyl-producing operation in Toluca, Mexico in May 2006. That version of the fentanyl reportedly was sent to Chicago and Detroit and in June the death rate spiked.  Most who died were in the 45 to 54 age group, according to the report.

The report says that the internet has instructions on how to make the drug, which requires “minimal technical knowledge.”

One gram of pure fentanyl can equal about 7,000 doses on the street where the drug is also known as Apache, China white, China girl, friend, dance fever and jackpot, among other names. 

In April 2007, DEA began regulating access to the basic ingredients used to make nonpharmaceutical fentanyl after that there was a dramatic decline in deaths.

Unintentional drug poisoning deaths from painkillers doubled to more than 22,000 from 1999 to 2005, according to the CDC.   #


3 Comments

Anonymous User
Posted by JerryBear
Friday, July 25, 2008 2:31 PM EST

"Every junkie's like a setting sun", as Neil Young puts it in his song, "The Needle and the Damage Done". When fentanyl mixed with heroin was offered in Detroit a few years ago, it caused over 300 deaths. Despite the toll, the junkies avidly sought it out and the dealers offered it under suggestive names like "Grim Reaper", and "Dead on Arrival". Since serious heroin junkies are so wedded to their self-destruction, maybe we could offer them all the fentanyl they want. They would soon die and everubody might be better off. Fentanyl itself is more lethal than the military nerve gas SARIN (the minimal lethal dose is about 300 micrograms versus 500 for SARIN). Nevertheless, it has relatives that are literally thousands of times more powerful. These are easily the deadliest synthetic chemicals ever created by humans. A drug like carfentanyl or the super-opiate etorphine can kill in doses as small as 10 micrograms, a level comparable to ricin (castor beans) or diptheria toxin. These extraordinarily lethal substances have obvious military use but only the Russians are known to stockpile them. I honestly don't no why these compounds are not used to carry out executions instead of the ludicrously messy and complicated "3 drug cocktail" combination. You could use a simple diabetic needle to inject under the skin any of the above-mentioned compounds (say 10mg of etorphine) and unconsciousness would follow in just a few seconds followed by death in 2 minutes flat.

Anonymous User
Posted by q2a
Friday, July 25, 2008 3:49 PM EST

What an unchristian, morbid minded **** you are. My bet is you don't believe in GOD. If you do the only god you could be worshiping is the devil!

Anonymous User
Posted by Jane Akre
Friday, July 25, 2008 4:48 PM EST

Hi All-

"Junkies" as you call them, are also somebody's parent, son, daughter, husband or wife. Maybe they are well-known, say, in radio or television or the movies. Or, for those of you more self-concerned, they might be standing behind you at the ATM. A society is only as good as its weakest link. Their problem is our problem too, as a society.

Comments for this article are closed.

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