All posts by Tony Turrisi

Heroin Laced with Elephant Tranquilizer Hits the Streets

Source: CNN

heroin-fentanylThe American heroin epidemic has become more dangerous, as reports of heroin laced with carfentanil are being reported throughout the country.

Carfentanil is the most potent opioid used commercially, 10,000 times stronger than morphine. It is a version of fentanyl, the painkiller that most recently made headlines with its role in the death of pop star Prince.

Many users may not know they are even taking the drug, officials have said. In July, officials in Hamilton County, Ohio, issued a public health warning (PDF) after seeing 35 overdoses, including six deaths, in a three-day period.

Read the full CNN article >

A Public Example of a Growing Cultural Problem

Prince’s death earlier this year was the result of an overdose of opioids, the Associated Press reported on Thursday, citing a law enforcement official. Now confirmed by the medical examiner, Prince has just become a key example of a problem that has spiked in recent years — and that has become a key undercurrent in American politics.

At the end of 2015, the CDC released figures for that year and the trend back to 1999. Sixty-one percent of drug-overdose deaths in 2014 involved some sort of opioid, including heroin.

cdc-opiod-chart

The CDC’s report identifies the trend as an “epidemic,” with the death rate from drug overdoses doubling between 2000 and 2014.

Continue to the the Washington Post full story.

ER Visits for Heroin Overdoses Spike in Virginia

reviveVirginia’s emergency rooms are seeing a dramatic spike this year in the number of patients seeking treatment for heroin overdoses, state data shows.

The state’s emergency departments reported nearly 500 visits in the first four months of 2016 with unintentional heroin overdose as the primary complaint or diagnosis at discharge, according to data provided to The Associated Press data the Virginia Department of Health.

That’s roughly two-and-a half times the number of emergency department visits for heroin overdoses reported over the same period last year.

The actual number of emergency room trips caused by heroin overdoses is likely much higher than reported because patients often will say only that they are suffering from overdose and won’t specify what drug they were using, said Emily Stephens, enhanced surveillance analyst for the Virginia Department of Health.

Read the full AP article…

20 Synthetic Drug Overdoses Per Day Spark New Legislation

Synthetic drug overdoses sent more people to D.C. emergency rooms in September than heart attacks, car accidents or strokes, a new report shows.

Although recreational marijuana has been largely decriminalized for adults in the District, dangerous designer synthetic cannabinoids that are sold over the counter at gas stations and bodegas not only remain rampant but are causing more calls to first responders than other major medical emergencies combined.

This significant increase of synthetic drug emergencies handled by D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services (FEMS) has sparked new legislation with stiff penalties for stores caught selling synthetic marijuana.

Read the full story.

‘Scooby Snax’: 4 homeless adults overdose on synthetic marijuana, or ‘spice’

scooby-snaxFour homeless adults remained hospitalized Friday after they were found unresponsive at a makeshift camp in Glen Burnie, Maryland, as a result of ingesting synthetic marijuana, or spice, local police said.

Anne Arundel County police officers said they responded Thursday afternoon to a wooded area near Route 648 (Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard) and Route 10 for a report of an overdose, called in by a witness.

Continue reading ‘Scooby Snax’: 4 homeless adults overdose on synthetic marijuana, or ‘spice’