Yesterday, Ears To The House came across some truly sobering stories that suggest a fentanyl problem is developing within the USA. One of those was a truly horrific report of a nine-month old baby who died with enough fentanyl in their system to kill ten people.
Elsewhere, some 80% of just over 3000 drug overdose deaths in New York last year involve fentanyl – and Mayor London Breed of San Francisco has revealed that “in just fourteen days, our officers have [seized] over a third of what we pulled off the street last year”, with “alarming levels of fentanyl” being found.
So what is fentanyl, where is it coming from, and why is it so prevalent in the USA at the moment? Well, it’s a powerful synthetic opioid that is used for legal purposes in medicine – and it’s also incredibly addictive. Most of the supply of fentanyl in the USA destined for illegal drugs appears to originate from China.
As for its prevalence, less of it is needed to have the same effect – which makes it easier to smuggle into the country. It’s mixed in with other drugs in order to increase their profits – and it’s currently killing some 150 people in the United States on a daily basis.
The levels of the drug in circulation will be a cause of concern in the nightlife industry – Ears To The House has no particular view on drug policy, but believes some people will consume them regardless of what any law states. It’s also why we believe strongly in drug testing facilities – those who wish to take drugs shouldn’t have to play Russian roulette each time they do so.
Thankfully, it’s something which people are cottoning onto – an article in New York magazine reveals that a number of venues in the city are now handing our fentanyl testing strips. Those who subsequently discover their drugs are laced with the opoid can then dispose of them.
Indeed, several states are now legalising them – having previously classed them as drug paraphernalia. But what effect will this have in the long term? Will those making drugs have to stop using it if sales fall, or will they just carry on as they are now?
It’s a question that needs answering…