CDC: Fentanyl Urgent Public Health Problem

CDC: Fentanyl Urgent Public Health Problem — Pain News Network – August 26, 2016 By Pat Anson, Editor

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is finally acknowledging that the U.S. has a fentanyl problem that is growing worse by the day, and that more people are dying in some states from overdoses of illicit fentanyl than from prescription opioids.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.

It is prescribed legally in patches and lozenges to treat chronic pain, but in recent years there has been a surge in overdoses linked to illicit fentanyl obtained on the black market, where it is often mixed with heroin.  

In a new analysis of opioid overdoses in 27 states, the CDC identified eight “high burden” states where fentanyl overdoses sharply increased, even though fentanyl prescriptions were relatively stable.

Even the U.S. Surgeon General appears to be neglecting the fentanyl problem.

This week Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, said he would be sending letters to over two million physicians urging them to follow the CDC guidelines and pledge to safely prescribe opioids.

Nowhere in the letter or on a website promoting the “Turn the Tide” campaign is fentanyl even mentioned.  

Critics of opioid prescribing have long maintained that opioid pain medication is often a gateway drug to heroin and other illicit substances, but recent research indicates that is not true.

Another recent study of military veterans found there was no significant link between heroin use and legally prescribed opioids or chronic pain.

Further compounding the problem is that some heroin and fentanyl deaths are falsely reported as overdoses from opioid pain medication due to inadequate or nonexistent toxicology tests.  

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5 thoughts on “CDC: Fentanyl Urgent Public Health Problem

  1. Doc Anonymous

    According to the DEA the bulk of the fentanyl on the streets is coming from illegally made and imported chemicals from China and/or Mexico. In short the current fentanyl death epidemic is in fact a poisoning of the American people, targeting mainly people who suffer the disease of addiction, and to an extent those who like to spend their money getting high.

    The DEA has however failed miserably to control the illegal importation of this poison even though that is their primary task under the Controlled Substance Act. Their war on pain patients and the doctors who tried to treat them has diverted attention away from this illegal importation of poison.

    And make no mistake, this is not a problem with “diversion” of medication as pointed out in the article because prescribed fentanyl has remained stable. The poisoning of the American People is occurring because the DEA has diverted attention away from the real problem. The diversion practiced by the DEA is far more deadly than the diversion committed by addicts masquerading as pain patients, or pain patients illegally selling their pills.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Zyp Czyk Post author

      I’m convinced that there’s diversion happening much further up the supply chain where things are less controlled than for patients, where each single pill is counted.

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        1. Zyp Czyk Post author

          Drug dealers are profiting immensely. Fentanyl is much cheaper to produce than heroin or other opioids, so the profit from fentanyl-enhanced heroin is much higher.

          It’s always about the money, isn’t it?

          Liked by 1 person

          Reply
          1. Angela M. Oddone LCSW, Resiliency Strategies LLC

            I understand why drug dealers are doing what they’re doing. But, why are the DEA and CDC focused on stopping doctors from safely and effectively prescribing rather than preventing the use / misuse / abuse of the illegal fentanyl sold by dealers, especially if the opioids the vast majority of doctors are prescribing aren’t causing harm while the illegal drugs the dealers are selling clearly are causing harm? Isn’t the Federal government barking up the wrong tree? And, why?

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