While Sarasota County in Florida continues to receive top honors in health rankings, it also has to deal with above the state average for drug overdose deaths. Recently, a drug-related overdose involving a batch of bad heroin resulted in multiple fatalities in Sarasota city.
According to the Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino, the situation is grim as such incidences are happening all over the city. As per media reports, while a total of nine people have overdosed, four deaths have been reported so far. The batch of heroin is believed to be laced with fentanyl, a dangerous opioid. “We are asking for citizens to help us. Let us know who is selling the heroin. We know it is cut with fentanyl or carfentanil which is very dangerous. It’s deadly,” said DiPino.
According to authorities, Sarasota County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) usually see an increase in overdoses in the summer months but this year it has come early with the spring break. The number of overdoses in the county is on the rise. While a total of 280 overdose cases were reported in 2016 in the county, the EMS has seen more than 110 overdoses till date this year.
Fentanyl: A deadly opioid analgesic
Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid analgesic, is useful in treating chronic, cancer-related and surgical pain. It is a deadly opioid, 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine. The equipment and chemicals needed to manufacture fentanyl are readily available online. The present situation is reaching dangerous levels as a huge number of fatal overdoses is being linked to abuse of fentanyl and its analogues across the U.S.
An addictive drug, fentanyl overdose is often caused by non-pharmaceutical fentanyl sold in the form of powder, spiked on blotted paper or as tablets similar to less effective opioids. It becomes more dangerous when used along with substances such as heroin or cocaine. Non-medical use of fentanyl or abuse can cause severe health consequences as well as depression, sleepiness, slowed heart rate and hallucinations, among others.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the death rate from synthetic opioids, which include fentanyl, surged by more than 72 percent from 2014 to 2015. Ohio and Florida are among the worst affected states. However, the most worrisome trend is the production of counterfeit pharmaceutical preparations containing varying proportions of fentanyl and its analogues. When unwary customers purchase such products, they put themselves in danger, running the risk of overdose.
Dealing with fentanyl crisis
Considering the ongoing spike in fentanyl-related fatalities, there has been a nationwide alert on fentanyl and its analogues since March 2015 issued by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Further, the DEA is playing an active role in curbing this crisis by raiding fake manufacturing of prescription pills across cities in the country.
Also, in a joint attempt to tackle the problem, both the DEA and the CDC have identified eight high-burden states where fentanyl overdoses have been on the rise. These states are Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Ohio, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland and North Carolina.
Road to recovery
An illegal and extremely addictive substance, heroin continues to be a commonly abused drug in the U.S. Known to induce a state of relaxation and euphoria, the drug abuse blocks the brain’s ability to perceive pain. As it imitates the brain’s natural process of seeking pleasure, its initial experience can lead to addiction.
Individuals who want to stop using heroin can experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. So, it is advisable to seek heroin addiction treatment under the guidance of a health care professional. For addiction to drugs such as heroin, Sovereign Health of Florida offers a comprehensive treatment that involves medically supervised detox, along with behavioral therapies. For more information on heroin addiction treatment offered at our facilities, call us at our 24/7 helpline 866-269-2493. Chat online with our representative to know more about the finest heroin addiction rehabs near you.
Sovereign Health Group is a leading addiction, dual diagnosis and mental health treatment provider. Call our admissions team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to get the help you deserve.