The deadliest drug in Tennessee is no longer heroin. A new report showed that last year, a synthetic drug called fentanyl led to more deaths than heroin did for the first time in Davidson County’s history.
This means that authorities that are fighting the opioid crisis should add a new class of powerful drugs to the blacklist. After the state set a restriction on prescription painkillers, addicts resorted to the black market for their daily fix.
There, addicts can buy heroin and counterfeit pills that can get them high. Those pills contain a synthetic opioid which is cheap to produce, fentanyl. The drug was usually used in healthcare facilities, but it has somehow reached the streets, with deadly consequences.
The streets are being flooded with fentanyl, and it’s contaminating these other drugs – whether they are heroin, or cocaine or counterfeit oxycodone,
warned toxicologist Howard Taylor.
Dr. Taylor added that fentanyl is cheaper than heroin but much deadlier.
Fentanyl Deadlier than Heroin
Last year, Nashville reported 105 fatal overdoses from the synthetic opioid and 101 overdoses from heroin. Even though the margin between the two drugs’ fatalities is small, public health authorities are concerned about fentanyl’s rise to fame across the city.
The drug has spread a lot faster than its counterpart ever did. A few years ago, no one overdosed on fentanyl. In 2015, the death toll of the drug jumped 250% from a year prior, followed by a 54% rise in 2016, and a 75% rise the next year.
Experts believe that the rapid rise is caused by economics as consumers switch to fentanyl because it is cheaper. Authorities warned that drugs are now cheaper, and addictions are harder to treat. As a result, the number of fatal overdoses has skyrocketed in recent years.
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