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Fentanyl: A Dangerous Element in the Opioid Epidemic

The deadly opiate is mixed with heroin

+Fentanyl+patch+packages+from+several+german+generic+drug+manufacturers
 Fentanyl patch packages from several german generic drug manufacturers

Fentanyl patch packages from several german generic drug manufacturers

By Alcibiades (Own work) [Public domain via Wikimedia Commons]

By Alcibiades (Own work) [Public domain via Wikimedia Commons]

Fentanyl patch packages from several german generic drug manufacturers

Matthew Burbine, Staff Writer

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According the Massachusetts State Police (as initially reported by WBUR-FM), Fentanyl the powerful and deadly synthetic opiate, was present in 336 of the people who died of an overdoes in the 12-month-period ending October 6, 2015; a 50 percent increase from the previous 12-month-period.

Fentanyl is often mixed with heroin in order to create white heroin, according to masslive.com. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that fentanyl is prescribed to people with chronic pain associated with advanced cancer, and it is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. The National Institute on Drug Abuse warns that cutting heroin with fentanyl magnifies its potency and greatly increases the danger of an overdose. The CDC has determined that in 2014, Massachusetts had the second highest number of seizures due to illegally possessed fentanyl, which resulted in 630 confiscations of the drug. The fentanyl problem has become so serious that the CDC issued a nationwide health advisory outlining the dangers and recommending ways to prevent fentanyl-related deaths.

Fentanyl is ….50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.”

On November 24, Governor Charlie Baker signed a law that made trafficking in fentanyl a crime. According to masslive.com, “possession and distribution of fentanyl was already a crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The new law increases the penalty to 20 years in prison for someone distributing more than 10 grams.…” Fentanyl trafficking is a growing problem in this state. In October, a Massachusetts man was arrested for being connected to a major drug operation where 2,500 grams of pure fentanyl, more than 900 pills, two guns and over $73,000 in cash were seized by police (according to masslive.com). Opioid abuse is one of the most pressing health and public safety problems facing Massachusetts. Hopefully, this new legislation will deter fentanyl trafficking, and in turn, reduce the number of overdose deaths.

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Fentanyl: A Dangerous Element in the Opioid Epidemic