Fentanyl has been shown to be 50 times more powerful than heroin.
It is now found in almost all of the heroin supply in the Philadelphia region and has been found to be involved in almost all (94% in 2020) of the drug overdose deaths in the region.
Fentanyl has not only been found in heroin but in other drugs as well. Other drugs including counterfeit Xanax and other types of pills, cocaine, and methamphetamine have been found to be laced with fentanyl.
An especially disturbing trend has seen fentanyl pills produced in “rainbow” colors resembling candy. (See photo). Fentanyl is also packaged in powder form or “bricks” resembling sidewalk chalk.
Another disturbing trend is reflected in statistics that show although overall drug use among teens in the United States has shown to be declining in recent years, the number of overdose deaths has risen. This trend is believed to be related to the inclusion of fentanyl in recreational drugs, often without the knowledge of the user.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that the following actions be taken to fight the spread of fentanyl-related deaths in the United States.
- Expand distribution and use of naloxone and overdose prevention education
- Expand awareness about and access to and availability of treatment for substance use disorders
- Intervene early with individuals at highest risk for overdose
- Improve detection of overdose outbreaks to facilitate more effective response