Heroin Laced with Elephant Tranquilizers Causes More Than 78 Overdoses in One Week
New reports from Ohio, Indiana, and Florida warn about deadly heroin being sold laced with elephant tranquilizers. Carfentanil, a drug not approved for use on humans but sold as a sedative for large animals, is 10,000 times stronger than morphine and 100 times more powerful than fentanyl. About 2 milligrams can put a 2,000 pound elephant to sleep. According to Ohio police officers between Tuesday and Wednesday this past week they saw 76 overdoses. What is even more disturbing is that the tested batches of heroin which included carfentanil, proved to be resistant to overdose reversal drugs such as Narcan.
“We have been receiving reports from some of our colleagues in the healthcare systems that people have had to be put on IVs of Naxolone just to keep them and bring them back,” said Hamilton County assistant health commissioner Craig Davidson. “The carfentanil is that strong that, again, one, two or (even) three doses sometimes is not enough.”
According to the national post with the drug combinations they are seeing now it could take nearly 12 doses of Narcan to revive someone from this type of overdose.
Across the nation communities are battling heroin addiction and abuse with initiatives to prevent overdose and provide treatment. Just as heroin addiction rates seemed to be dropping there was a wave heroin laced with fentanyl which sparked massive overdoses across the country. Palm Beach County reported that in 2016 so far there were 1,246 overdoses related to opioids compared to the 711 in 2015. 14 of those overdoses were fatal and those rates could be higher had it not been for the overdose reversal drug Naloxone.
The American heroin addiction crisis seems to be getting more dangerous as drug dealers find ways to enhance their supply using other synthetic substances.
Unfortunately, with drugs such as heroin now being laced with even more powerful drugs such as fentanyl and now elephant tranquilizers, experts are worried that revival drugs will no longer be able to reverse the harsh effects of the deadly drug combinations.
Even more frightening is that the victims don’t always know that the heroin they are buying has been laced with extremely powerful sedatives. An active heroin user’s typical dose can instantly cause an overdose and become fatal because of the mixed in substances. The life of an addict is scary and the realizations of these dangers is pushing some individuals to seek treatment before it is too late.
According to CNN, “Like fentanyl, carfentanil is dangerous not just to users but to anyone who comes into contact with it. Grains of it can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled.”
Heroin overdose rates are a concern as more and more people are becoming addicted to the dangerous drug. These heroin overdose rates are alarming and show the clear need for readily available treatment programs for heroin addiction. As people learn more about the dangerous substance and how treatment can help them, there are hopes that the heroin overdose rates will decline.
What is Heroin?
Heroin is an opiate created from the poppy plant. Opiates are used to treat severe pain such as the pain after surgery but due to the addictive properties, a strict drug schedule is set out by the doctor to ensure an addiction does not form. Heroin is a Schedule I drug as the medical benefit of this particular opiate is minimal while the risk of abuse is high. Heroin often comes as a white to brown powder depending on the quality. Higher qualities are usually smoked or snorted while the poorer qualities of heroin are injected into the skin.
Why is Heroin so Addictive?
Opiates act on the reward inducing areas of the brain. These are also the centers that control pain. Heroin blocks the feeling of pain and discomfort and causes the dopamine levels in the brain to drastically increase leaving the user with overwhelming feelings of euphoria and relaxation. Over time, the abuse of the drug impedes the natural production of dopamine. Eventually, the person feels as if they have to have to the drug, known as a dependence.
Treatment for Heroin Abuse and Addiction
Heroin detox programs is the first treatment plan that a person will enter into at a rehab. It helps to break the physical dependence the person has developed. Once detox is completed, therapy can begin. Group, individual, family and alternative therapy is available and once the patient is done with their treatment, they will be given information on relapse prevention and support groups in their area.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.