Reports of Fentanyl abuse rates are on the rise in the US responsible for hundreds, if not thousands of deaths within the US alone. Even though the prescription opioid is strongly regulated, its being manufactured with illegally obtained chemicals by street chemicals. Selling on the street under such names as Apache, China Girl, TNT, Dance Fever, and Murder 8, it has become highly sought after by opiate users for its powerful effects.
Part of the problem comes from users not knowing the product they’re buying is cut with Fentanyl. Dealers cut they’re product and advertise as pure heroin. Some dealers however, take a more honest approach, claiming it brings in more business.
“I could literally take the smallest grain that you could see with your eye and that would be a dose. I started taking it around and giving it to people and it just blew up my reputation,” a former dealer said in an interview. “You’re getting more bang for your buck.”
He also stated that he was having the drugs shipped right to his door.” Seems too good to be true having drugs shipped to your door, but it came. It came in a regular envelope. It looked like it was from a business.”
In a separate interview, a pharmacist gave references to the patch form of the drug being torn open and ingested that way.
“It’s for constant, debilitating pain. They’re breaking it open and either shooting it or smoking it or getting into their body another way. That’s suicide. I’ve also heard of people chewing on the patches. That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.” he said. The pharmacist added that just one gram of fentanyl has the potential to kill 1000 people.
“In a lot of places people are actually selling it instead of heroin. You are seeing more overdoses throughout the nation on fentanyl,” a United States Law Enforcement official said. “ It’s been found in Percocet ,Xanax, OxyContin, and others.”
The official told of one case where an ordinary woman was abusing prescribed patches, not the street version and became addicted. She obtained the patches legally, by a doctor after a back surgery. Her husband by chance was a pharmacist and tried to intervene.
“He tried to take them away from me and we got into a fight and I stabbed him,” the woman recounted in an interview.
“I like to call it the shiny trash can. As long as everything looks good on the outside, the garbage on the inside doesn’t matter. After that, I had another surgery, and was prescribed more patches,” she added.
“I called a rehab friend and he told me how to cut them up. He said not to chew a whole one because it would kill me. So I cut it into fourths and just chewed on it with the gel in it. When my husband would change the patch, I would just rip it off and stick on an old one and just keep doing that so he wouldn’t know. It’s like every blood vessel is alive. WHOOSH! Like when you climb up a roller coaster and all that adrenaline just…you’re just alive,” she continued.
The strength and increased risk that comes with fentanyl use is making advocates push for a greater availability to the opiate over dose fighting naloxone.