Over the last two weeks dozens of overdoses and several deaths believed to be linked to Fentanyl use have been reported in Sacramento. As of late last week authorities reported 36 overdoses and 9 deaths which are suspected to be Fentanyl overdoses. Prescription drug abuse is said to be responsible for the rise of Fentanyl abuse.
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic drug with potency 50 to 100 times greater than morphine and is suspected to be laced with prescription painkiller pills which are then sold on the streets. The victims have stated that they believed they were taking Norco, a prescription drug containing Acetaminophen and Hydrocodone. An illegally manufactured version of the drug fentanyl has begun spreading along the East Coast and in Canada. Some patients are reported to have been treated with multiple doses of Narcan (naloxone), a drug that reverses the effects of a narcotic overdose.
Increases in doctor-prescribed painkillers over the last decade has left many patients addicted to opiates which is leading to the intensification of the heroin epidemic that is spreading across the country. It is reported that heroin use has increased within the last decade as use of methamphetamines has dropped in Sacramento County. The DEA is currently reported to be working the case with assistance from state and local law enforcement and has launched an anonymous tip line.
As the heroin epidemic continues to grow the question of government aid is brought up. Last week the Obama administration made an announcement with initiatives focusing on bolstering the ongoing battle against prescription drug abuse.