Illegal drugs are claiming millions of innocent lives in the United States and Canada. Dangerous on their own, drugs (prescribed and illegal) are often combined with other substances to increase the level of pleasurable effects. Certain drug combinations like a mix of cocaine, heroin and fentanyl can be lethal to the users. Shockingly, carfentanil, a synthetic opioid 10,000 times more powerful than morphine, is often mixed with other illicit street drugs. Unfortunately, users are often unaware about such lethal combinations.
After three suspected overdose cases in a span of 48 hours in Peterborough, the police in southwestern Ontario has issued a public health warning to the residents about a potentially dangerous drug known as “purple heroin”. While the police has not identified the exact drugs involved in these deaths, they suspect the victims might have consumed “purple heroin,” a mix of heroin, morphine, fentanyl and carfentanil.
According to OPP Const. Ed Sanchuk, these drugs were seized in January 2018 and thereafter, sent for testing, which confirmed the life-threatening combination of different drugs in purple heroin. During the raid, the police had recovered more than $7,000 worth of cocaine, more than $30,000 worth of fentanyl and about $3,500 in cash. Reportedly, a large number of street drugs are being cut with fentanyl. This entire malpractice has been linked with a string of overdose deaths witnessed in Canada.
With almost all street drugs running the risk of being laced with fentanyl, the policymakers emphasize upon the need to spread awareness about illicit drugs containing deadly opioids among people. One of the primary reasons behind the popularity of drugs like purple heroin is the increased demand for a drug ensuring a speedball effect by including both a stimulant and a depressant. In the light of the emergence of fentanyl as a major danger for the society, both police and emergency services are deploying safer rescue and recovery processes at drug abuse rehab centers.
Impact of drugs cut with fentanyl in US
In addition to a host of casualties related to the use of a combination of cocaine, heroin and fentanyl seen across all demographic groups in the United States, there has been an increase in overdose deaths involving fentanyl-laced heroin and fentanyl-laced cocaine. Given the financial incentives involved in trading fentanyl, fentanyl-laced drugs are being actively manufactured by drug traffickers clandestinely. In many overdose cases, users end up consuming fentanyl unintentionally.
In 2016, out of more than 64,000 drug overdose deaths in the U.S., around 20,000 were due to fentanyl and its analogs. Owing to the drug’s powerful euphoric, relaxing and pain-relieving effects, fentanyl is often sought for illegal purposes. It is also mixed with cocaine and heroin to heighten its effects. When used without a prescription, the higher doses or a combination of fentanyl with other addictive substances can be fatal for users.
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