The opioid epidemic was declared a public health emergency by President Trump last year and efforts to combat it are growing rapidly.
One of the ways they are tackling the issue is through education. Synthetic opioids are the number one reason most people overdose and end up in the hospital or even dead according to the CDC. West Virginia, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts had the highest death rates linked to synthetic opioids.
You may be asking what exactly are synthetic opioids and what do they do? They are manufactured opioids that are stronger and more potent than typical opioids.
The number one? Fentanyl. It’s 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Just touching it can even kill you, so this can be potentially dangerous for first responders or police officers when responding to an overdose.
Because some of the drugs are bought on the streets, these drugs can be even stronger than what they say. Dr. Neal Aulick, the Medical Director for Em-Star, said, “There’s no quality control, so they have no idea what they’re getting. This stuff is laced with carfentanyl or sufentanil all these very potent, synthetic narcotics that they have no idea how much of this they should take, so they overdose pretty frequently.”
Most hospitals are now seeing about 1 or 2 overdosed patients come through their doors every day.
And they can’t exactly pinpoint what they are overdosing on or how long it will last.
Although the number of opioid prescriptions has gone down, the crisis is continuing to grow. In fact, West Virginia has seen an increase of synthetic opioid deaths by 107%.