Opioid watchers say fentanyl and the deadly new drug cocktail are fueling a fourth wave of “mass deaths” in the US as voters accuse the Biden administration of ignoring the crisis.
A “fourth wave” of opioid deaths is ravaging US cities and rural areas alike, exacerbating a problem that has killed nearly 500,000 people in the past two decades, researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago say.
The research comes as US police discover new and more dangerous versions of the pills and the Biden administration has come under fire for being idle in the crisis and failing to protect the southern border from smugglers.
Lori Post, one of the report’s authors, said Thursday that she was “sounding the alarm” because the overdose death rate was rising due to the next generation of opioids and top cocktails.
“Not only is the opioid death rate at an all-time high, but the acceleration in death represents an explosive exponential growth that is even greater than the highest rate in history,” Post said.
Chicago-based researchers say fentanyl and a new cocktail of opioids are fueling a fourth wave of “mass deaths” in the US.
Police in Pennsylvania carry Narcan to treat opioid addiction, but the overdose-reversing drug doesn’t work with the powerful new combinations of high-potency fentanyl and street fentanyl.
His study of 2019 and 2020 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed a “fourth wave” of opioid deaths in urban, suburban, urban and rural areas that is “worse than ever before” and causing “mass deaths.” , he said.
The opioid epidemic is shifting from prescription painkillers like Percocet and Oxycodone in the early 2000s to heroin and then to fentanyl in the mid-2010s, a synthetic pain reliever 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine.
The U.S. is entering a “fourth wave,” he adds, as addicts today overdose on lethal cocktails of carfentanil — another synthetic opioid mixed with cocaine and methamphetamines that is 100 times more potent than fentanyl itself.
These cocktails are so powerful that even rapid dose reversal drugs like naloxone don’t work.
Police in Colorado announced last week the discovery of a powerful opioid trading under the street name “Pyro.” The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office said the light blue pills were marked with the letter “M” and the number 30.
Utah Highway Patrol troopers arrested a 21-year-old driver Tuesday after finding 190 pounds of blue M-30 fentanyl pills worth $1.7 million, as well as a container filled with cocaine and methamphetamine, according to the St. George News.
This month, Oregon health officials said drug overdose deaths there are expected to double between 2019 and 2021, largely due to abuse of the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl, and called for an urgent supply of the life-saving drug naloxone.
Celebrities like rapper Eminem have opened up about their struggles with prescription painkillers. Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died of a drug cocktail overdose in 2014; two years later, legendary performer Prince died of a fentanyl overdose
Sen. Susan Collins said this week that Maine’s overdose epidemic is “the worst ever,” with more than 9,500 deaths, up 9 percent last year, more than three-quarters of which were caused by fentanyl.
“Our job is not working,” Collins said, criticizing the Biden administration for its open-door policy that left the Border Patrol managing the flow of immigrants instead of fighting drug traffickers.
“Our failure to secure the southern border has a negative impact and directly contributes to our failure to stop the flow of drugs into this country,” the Republican told a Washington health group.
According to Collins, at least one-tenth of drug overdoses occurred among the elderly. He and Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland has introduced a bill to address the challenges drug addiction treatment beneficiaries face.
Pollsters said Rasmussen echoed the concerns of many Americans, who said by a four-to-one margin that America’s opioid drug problem is getting worse, not better, and that President Joe Biden is doing enough to stop it.
White House Press Secretary Karin Jean-Pierre recently said the administration is using the technology to strengthen its fight against transnational criminal gangs and “traffickers of deadly opioids on the dark web.”
Biden spoke with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Thursday about tensions over Taiwan. He has come under pressure to increase the smuggling of fentanyl from China, which has been blamed for over 107,000 overdose deaths in the US last year.
Opioid prescriptions have dropped 40 percent in the past decade after restrictions by hospitals, insurers and government officials. But drug-related deaths remain at 13,000 to 14,000 per year.
Research shows that people who become addicted to opioids start with prescription opiates before moving on to cheaper heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl, then to deadly new-generation drug cocktails.
Celebrities like rapper Eminem have opened up about their struggles with prescription painkillers. Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died of a drug cocktail overdose in 2014; two years later, legendary performer Prince died of a fentanyl overdose.
A heroin user on the streets of New York. The opioid epidemic shifted from painkillers like Percocet and Oxycodone to heroin in the early 2000s, then to fentanyl, a synthetic pain reliever 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, in the mid-2010s.
Counterfeit oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl collected during investigation in Utah. Recently, police found powerful blue opioid pills trading under the street name “Pyro.”