Home Health How fentanyl poisoning became a national crisis: Johns Hopkins pain doctor explains

How fentanyl poisoning became a national crisis: Johns Hopkins pain doctor explains

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Every day across the United States, news detailing gruesome fentanyl-related deaths make headlines as the country grapples with a drug crisis like no other.

Practitioners began using opioids more frequently to treat chronic pain in the 1990s, according to Dr. Paul Christo, associate professor at Johns Hopkins University and host of the podcast “Aches and Gains.” Opioid use increased among people.Worked as a pain doctor for about 20 years.

“Oh, pain professionals, we’re often in the middle of therapy… people taking opioids, people developing an addiction disease,” he said. , we will … end up treating patients with addiction — refer them, for example, to an addiction specialist … and try to treat their pain. At the same time, as we all know, the United States suffers from an epidemic of chronic pain that affects about a third of the population.”

Fentanyl overdoses have claimed the lives of thousands of Americans. What’s Behind the Rise?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid about 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. It’s lethal in small doses and is more often found in recreational drugs, but some illegal pharmaceutical companies and cartels have shoved fentanyl into pills that look like prescription painkillers.

Last year, a record 107,000 Americans died of drug overdoses and poisoning from synthetic opioid (or fentanyl) addiction, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
(Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA))

“It is important for the general public … especially family members, friends, parents, and especially those classified as young adults between the ages of 13 and 25, to be aware of the dangers of personal use of synthetic fentanyl. “We’re not talking about pharmaceutical fentanyl for chronic pain patients. That’s an important difference,” the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and host of the “Aches and Gains” podcast told Fox News Digital. I think.”

Recounting the harrowing moment when a Michigan policeman collapsed from fentanyl exposure

Illegal fentanyl obtained on the street is “so potent that it’s lethal,” he explained. ”. The public should be aware that fentanyl can be found in a wide variety of drugs, from heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine to cannabis, Christo explained. helps eliminate the fentanyl threat of these drugs. Additionally, keeping Narcan (a drug used to treat drug overdoses) on hand can help those who overdose on fentanyl.

A record 107,000 Americans died last year from drug overdoses and addictions caused by synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Illicit fentanyl poisoning was the leading cause of death for American adults ages 18 to 45 last year, according to an analysis of his CDC data released by Families Against Fentanyl in December 2021.

Fentanyl is lethal in small doses and is often found in recreational drugs, but some illegal pharmaceutical companies and drug cartels have shoved fentanyl into pills disguised as prescription pain relievers.

Fentanyl is lethal in small doses and is often found in recreational drugs, but some illegal pharmaceutical companies and drug cartels have shoved fentanyl into pills disguised as prescription pain relievers.
(Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA))

A February study by the Stanford Lancet Commission on the North American Opioid Crisis projected that an estimated 1.2 million people in the United States will die from drug overdoses over the next decade, with black communities most affected by the crisis. increase.

Virginia County Reports Opioid Presence Is More Deadly Than Fentanyl

Southern border seizures of drugs have surged in recent years. Customs and Border Protection said in fiscal year 2021 he seized £10,586 of drugs. This is up from £4,558 seized in fiscal year 2020 and £2,633 seized in fiscal year 2019.

It remains unclear how much fentanyl is entering the United States, but the numbers only point to drug concerns, so the number of drug-related deaths is on the rise. Drug Enforcement Administration Earlier this year, it warned of a “national spike” in fentanyl-related overdoses.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, approximately 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, approximately 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.
(Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA))

“It appears that a lot of fentanyl is being transported into the United States from Mexico. It’s cheap to produce, but it’s very dangerous in small doses and can be fatal fairly easily. “We’re starting to mobilize the response in terms of what we can do to help,” Christo said, by increasing border surveillance of drugs entering the country to make sure they don’t contain fentanyl. , added that it could prevent the spread of opioids in the country.United States.

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People experiencing poisoning should seek medical attention. Christo said some cities have “abuse and substance use-related public health services” that are free for eligible people. His websites for the American Psychological Association and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) have free resources for those interested in exploring treatment options in their respective areas.

If you or someone you know is experiencing substance abuse or addiction, please contact SAMHSA’s National Hotline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.

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