It’s not uncommon for heroin to be mixed with another substance. But, mixing heroin with other potent opiates can have deadly consequences. Last summer, Columbus and surrounding counties experienced a surge in overdoses associated with Blue Drop Heroin. The drug got its signature color from Fentanyl, an opiate approximately 100 times more potent than heroin. In Marion County alone, officials reported an average of 4 overdoses a day all linked to the potent mixture of opiates. The increased potency is what attracts users.
Now, a new drug has entered the mix and is causing an unprecedented surge in overdoses throughout the Midwest. The drug, carfentanil, is a synthetic drug used in tranquilizers for large animals. Carfentanil is over 10,000 times more potent than morphine and is suspected of causing over 189 overdoses this past week. Officials have yet to confirm that carfentanil is in fact the cause but there are telltale signs leading them to suspect that the drug is the culprit.
Health and law enforcement officials reported that victims did not respond to the normal dose of Narcan, the antidote used to reverse the deadly effects of a heroin overdose. It should take a single dose of Narcan to revive individuals, but officials in Ohio and Indiana have reported that as many as four doses of the drug were needed. Officials also reported that people who overdosed were unresponsive, had shallow breathing, and blue lips; all telltale signs of carfentanil. Authorities in both states are working to definitively identify the exact drug or drugs behind the overdoses. They explained that it can often be difficult to make these determinations, because large enough quantities of the drugs necessary for testing are rarely recovered. It is also rare for addicts to know what they are buying from dealers. For example, it is not uncommon for dealers to sell pure Fentanyl disguised as Heroin to unsuspecting individuals, because Fentanyl is cheaper and easier to obtain. The uncertainty can make it difficult for health care providers and first responders to treat those who have overdosed.
Over the years our office has represented many individuals who have suffered from addiction. There are many treatment facilities that combine traditional therapy with newer methods, like Vivotrol therapy. It is important for clients to discuss their addiction issues with their attorney. Overdoses are now killing more people than car accidents every year in all but three states, and law enforcement and the courts are trying find alternatives to incarceration in many instances. Prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys can often work with individuals charged with low level drug offenses to reach resolutions that allow an individual to seek treatment.
If you need a lawyer for a criminal State or Federal case, call Attorney W. Joseph Edwards (614-309-0243) who has over 25 years experience representing clients in these legal matters.