Fentanyl: the new face of the opioid epidemic

Reporter: Amy Galo Writer: Matias Abril
Published: Updated:

Fentanyl is the new face of the opioid overdose epidemic.

The CDC said synthetic opioids like fentanyl kill more than 150 people every day, and it doesn’t take much to be fatal.

According to the DEA, six out of every ten pills they test contain a potentially lethal dose.

32-year-old Cory Webster, who survived an opioid overdose in 2017, remembers the fear she felt when she first heard the rumors of lacing fentanyl. It’s up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.

Just two milligrams of fentanyl, the same amount as the tip of a pencil, is enough to kill you. And in recent years, the drug has been put into anything you can think of.

“Marijuana, cocaine, Xanax, other prescription medications. They’re pressing into pills,” Webster said.

This makes the base drug even more addicting and makes clients much more likely to come back to their dealers for more.

According to the CDC, 150 Americans die every day due to synthetic opioids like fentanyl.

Standford psychiatry professor Dr. Keith Humphreys explained what makes this drug so deadly.

“Immediately produces pleasure, produces pain-killing, and starts slowing down your digestion and your breathing, and it is that last effect that makes it so dangerous. Their breathing slows to the point that their brain and their body are no longer getting enough oxygen, which immediately starts doing damage. And if it goes on long enough, unfortunately, results in death,” Humphreys said.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, you can contact the David Lawrence Center at (239) 455-8500.

The nonprofit organization offers help to people of all ages. It also can provide life-saving Narcan, free of cost.

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