According to the CDC’s Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report, the number of overdose deaths involving fentanyl and fentanyl analogs doubled in the last several years.
The third wave of the opioid epidemic is here, as new synthetics [fentanyl analogs] that are 10,000 times as potent as morphine and used to tranquilize elephants are attributing to the latest surge in deaths.
The new report examined fatal overdoses that tested positive for fentanyl and compound variations of the drug from July 2016 to June 2017 in 10 states: Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
The findings suggest the opioid epidemic has taken a turn for the worse, as the nation is not prepared for the next parabolic rise in overdoses that could severely strain the economy and or government.
Researchers report that among 11,045 fentanyl overdose deaths examined in 10 states, 2,275 (20.6 percent) decedents tested positive for fentanyl analogs and 1,236 (11.2 percent) tested positive for carfentanil. Researchers also detected fourteen different compound variations of the drug.
During the first half of 2017, the number of deaths with fentanyl analogs detected (1,511) nearly doubled, compared with the number during the second half of 2016 (764); deaths with carfentanil detected increased 94 percent, from 421 to 815. The proportions of deaths with fentanyl analogs or with carfentanil detected nearly doubled during this period.
Carfentanil is 10,000 times as potent as morphine, as standard naloxone treatments are mostly ineffective. Researchers write that the “highly potent nature of many analogs, particularly carfentanil, might warrant multiple administrations of…naloxone.” In other words, researchers allude to the third wave in the opioid crisis, where overdoses of the highly potent analogs may not be reversed, even if first responders administer the reversing agents in time.
Watch: First responders revive women with Narcan after an opioid overdose
Nationally, the CDC expects 2017 opioid overdose-related deaths to surge to an all-time high of 49,000. About 60 percent of those deaths are expected to be related to synthetic opioids.
According to the CDC, there were 20,310 overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids in 2016, and that number is expected to climb 45 percent to 29,400 in 2017.
“We need to reach patients well before they reach the point of needing emergent naloxone,” states Clare Waismann, founder of the Waismann Method™ a medical opioid treatment program.
“While the attention is focused on addiction, the individual is forgotten. Their basic emotional needs are not met and their hope never restored,” said Waismann.
“The dramatic rise in deaths from fentanyl and its potent analogs speak to a dire need to effective treatment programs. She adds, “The word crisis in opioid crisis is overused to the point that it sometimes loses meaning. The death rates published by the CDC yesterday [July 13] show why the word ‘crisis’ is accurate and appropriate.”
The epidemic is so concerning that opioid-related deaths have shifted the overall life expectancy rate for the US lower for the second consecutive year. The last time this occurred, it was the early 1960s when the stock market zoomed to new highs, but then, shortly thereafter, experienced a sizeable downturn,
America is in decline. The third wave of the opioid crisis is here. So…what now?