May 19, 2022

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The addiction and overdose crisis in the United States is exacerbated by the consumption of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids

The addiction and overdose crisis in the United States is exacerbated by the consumption of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids

Confiscation of fentanyl and methamphetamine by US Customs and Border Protection officers in January 2019 in Nogales, Arizona. Photo: AP.

State governments in the United States are looking at ways to stop the harms of fentanyl and other synthetic opioid usewhen the addiction and overdose crisis that has plagued the country for two decades continues to fester.

In legislatures across the United States, Lawmakers pass laws designed to reduce risks to users and increase penalties for smuggling or mixing fentanyl with other drugs.

Republican prosecutors are calling for more federal action, and some Republican state governors are deploying the National Guard to stem the flow of fentanyl from Mexico, the Associated Press reports.

“It’s a fine line between helping people and getting them off drugs, and at the same time putting drug dealers in jail and off the streets,” said Nathan Manning, the Republican senator from Ohio who is sponsoring the legislation.

According to a November 2021 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Between April 2020 and April 2021, the United States recorded 100,306 fatal overdoses, a 28.5% increase over the same period the previous year. (April 2019 – April 2020, with 78,056 deaths).

For the first time, the 100,000 mark of deaths from this cause has been crossed. The number reported by the CDC indicates that there was a death every five minutes.

The figure has alarmed health authorities, who have warned of an unprecedented “crisis” caused in large part by illegal sales and use of the strong opioid fentanyl.

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According to the authorities, About two-thirds of the deaths were related to fentanyl and other synthetic drugs, which can be 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, heroin or prescription opioids.

The recent case of five West Point students who overdosed on cocaine mixed with fentanyl while on vacation in Florida has once again highlighted the dangers and spread of the fentanyl crisis.

While users sometimes specifically look for fentanyl, it and other synthetics with similar properties are often mixed with other drugs or made into adulterated tablets, so users often don’t even know they’re taking it.

Experts say test strips can help prevent accidental overdoses of fentanyl-filled medications. Strips are given in exchange for needles and sometimes at concerts or other events where medicines are expected to be sold or used.

(with information from AP)