The COVID-19 crisis was not a pleasant situation anywhere. Across the world, many people unfortunately got to see the worst in themselves, and others. For many, this led to a massive increase in embracing their vices. From hobbies like painting religious pictures to collecting rare whiskeys, everyone found something to help keep them entertained.
Unfortunately for many, this meant turning to drugs. With China and Mexico both more than happy to help meet that demand across the globe massive shipments of narcotics were being transported. While meth wasn’t often in short supply, the filler for everything started becoming fentanyl.
A report from the CDC about drug abuse and dependency typically sees substances grouped in with other similar drugs. Fentanyl is often listed with other synthetic opioids like tramadol and nitazenes. However, a report dropped on May 3rd has put Fentanyl in a category all by itself.
The report takes a look at the use of fentanyl and the demographic differences were incredibly in-depth. With nearly 70,000 drug overdoses from fentanyl in 2021, the drug saw a four-fold increase in just five years. In fact, in 2021 nearly 2/3 of all overdose deaths had some involvement with the synthetic opioid. While multiple drugs can be listed on a death report, it is often found with multiple others.
For researchers like Caleb Banta-Green, who is a research professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine’s Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute, these studies are crucial. “We need to know exactly what people are dying from, so we know what services they need to stay alive.” While he was not directly affiliated with the new report, his work is largely influenced by the data the research generates.
Seeing the different kinds of drug sources such as tramadol by prescription and illegal fentanyl as well as how they are ingested are huge factors to consider. This information can relay strong signals of who is using, how deep their addiction is running, and how likely they are to become an overdose statistic.
Coming in at 50-100 times more powerful than morphine, prescription fentanyl is reserved for patients fighting cancer and other extreme pain cases. Given typically via a patch or by lozenge, they look to limit and extend dosing to keep the patient comfortable for as long as possible. With 22 in every 100,000 people, the drug is responsible for twice the age-adjusted deaths with meth or cocaine, and more than seven times worse than heroin.
What’s most interesting is how use below 25 and over 65 abuse overdoses are in keeping with other substances, yet from 25 to 44 the rate skyrocketed. While the NE part of the US easily had the highest rate of overdose deaths with fentanyl, the NW part saw meth hang right in there for their percentage. Given the distinct East vs West pattern of drug use, the trend continues with fentanyl.
Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse claimed the study to be something massive in her programs. “These are some very clear statistics that I found very, very useful. Understanding these differences is crucial because then you can target intervention to address the risk.”
As both Volkow and Banta-Green can attest, this kind of intel is what drives their research and ability to get people the help they need. Without this study, they are stuck making the best guess about how to best treat these addiction issues. Given that medicine is called a “practice” they need all the help they can get.
From the get-go, President Biden has been one of the loudest voices in the war on drugs. He has tried to criminalize every vice known to man, all in the name of safety, the kids, and what’s right, but only from a seat of voting. He has never gone and seen the addiction he has tried to take credit for fighting.
Now that the truth of his fights is showing for all the world to see, it is clear that he has no intention of doing anything about the fentanyl problem in this country. With Mexico and China so close to it, he can’t risk upsetting his buddies.