Fentanyl overdose deaths rose nearly 70 percent last year, according to the US Department of Health in Washington (WSDOH). But this number does not offer the full extent of the drug problem of the state.
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Why is this happening? To understand the problem, it requires some connections.
Caleb Banta-Green, chief scientist at the UW Institute for Alcohol and Drug Abuse, noted that while the number of fentanyl overdose deaths had increased, the total number of opioids had increased overall. The number of deaths from overdose Washington, USA, has remained virtually unchanged over the past decade, at about 700 a year.
In essence, this does not happen in an increase of overdoses, but also in an increase in people overdose.
Banta-Green described how "years ago" we saw a rise in prescription opiates. Then it started to sink, we saw heroin in its place, heroin decreased a bit and fentanyl enters as another illegal opioid.
Even with opiate prescriptions declining, demand and search rates remain. What follows is that people who are addicted to painkillers usually descend to cheaper, more available options like heroin. Enter Fentanyl, an even cheaper, more dangerous option that entrenches itself as a prescription painkiller.
"People often try to use pills instead of heroin because it is considered safer," Banta-Green said. "Historically, that may have been true, but now you get something that looks like an Oxycodone-30 tablet, and it does not contain any oxycodone at all ̵
WSDOH stated that "in the first half of 2018, 81 fentanyl-related deaths were reported in the same period last year instead of 48."
Fentanyl is currently found in counterfeit pills that look like prescription opiates that look like oxycodone. The risk stems from the fact that fentanyl is between 30 and 50 times as strong as pure heroin and "a dose of a few grains of salt can be fatal to the average person."
The justification for traders and illegal importers are simple: profit.
"It is much more efficient to ship in fentanyl than in heroin. Fentanyl is 30 times more potent than heroin – meaning you only need half the amount to reach the same number of people, "said Banta-Green.
The East Coast has been hit hard, even more so than in Washington
"Washington is actually hit rather lightly compared to the rest of the country [by fentanyl overdoses] – New York City has seen an overall increase in overdose death rates of 50 percent, which is solely fentanyl-borne by the US," said Banta- Green.
All that it is, there are steps the state is taking to fight the epidemic, and the US Department of Health Rescue Helpline is designed to be a point of contact for addicts, providing people with access to medicines the same day low barrier action such as buprenorphine (19459017), which may help to completely wean an addict from heroin.
"Opiate dep It is a treatable disease, "Banta-Green said. "The most evidence-based interventions are treatment medications, and these treat medications help people recover and reduce their chance of overdose by 50 percent."
You can reach the state's Emergency Private Helpline at 1-866-789-1511. WSDOH also recommends that users take Naloxone with them to prevent an overdose – you can find out where Naloxone is being worn around you.
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