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By Maggie Fox
Overdose deaths increase by 1
Indeed, according to US data, deaths from synthetic opioids in the US today surpass the deaths of heroin or other opioid drugs.
But why cut heroin with fentanyl first? Researchers in California say there are two reasons. "It's cheaper than heroin, and it's smaller, lighter, and easier to smuggle," said Sarah Mars, who studies drug addiction and drug policy at the University of California, San Francisco.
Mars and his colleagues interviewed drug users across the country. along with some street vendors who also use their own products. They also researched drug prices and distribution patterns to answer questions about why fentanyl and fentanyl-like drugs are becoming so common.
There is a shortage of heroin and a growing supply of cheap fentanyl from China and Mexico. Mars found "There is a demand for fentanyl, but it can not drive the market," Mars told NBC News.
This is because shoppers can not tell in advance if they are getting fentanyl. The researchers also found that many opioid users are actively anxious about fentanyl and do not want to, because they know about the risk of overdose.
"Whether they prefer fentanyl or not, users will not be able to sell drugs," Mars said. "Without accurate information about these medicines, they can not make an informed decision about what to buy."
There is another indication that demand is not leading to increased use of fentanyl. There are hardly any street language words for fentanyl. Mars said.
Instead, the explanation seems to be that synthetic opioids are cheap and available. They are added to the merchant-level offer, not by merchants selling directly to users, Mars and his colleagues wrote in a report The magazine Addiction.
New fentanyl-like plastics have appeared on the market and are being found more widely. The new drugs include carfentanil, which is 100 times stronger than fentanyl, says the Center for Disease Control and Prevention 3-methylfentanyl is four times stronger, other synthetic opioids are furanylfentanyl and acrylic fentanyl.
Normally people do not ask about these newer plastics, but they are used to c Mars could only serve as a substitute for products that are sold on the street as Oxycontin or even as an anti-anxiety drug Xanax.
Even methamphetamine is cut with synthetic opioids. We do not know why traders would add fentanyl to these medications, which does not increase their potency, "Mars said.
The US government has asked China to control production of fentanyl, and last Saturday, China agreed to label fentanyl as a controlled substance to facilitate the prosecution of individuals for the manufacture and sale of illegal fentanyl Reduce exports. "If it were possible to cut supply from China, it would certainly affect the number of fentanyl overdoses," she said.
"The punishment of low-level traders will have no effect." They donate They do not know what they are selling, "she said.