Lawmakers are looking for ways to combat a new danger in the U.S. drug overdose epidemic: look-alike painkillers disguised as lower potency medications. When a user of one of these look-alike drugs ingests fentanyl, instead of the prescription opioid they thought they had purchased, the end result can be a fatal overdose.
Drug Abuse Epidemic in the United States
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declared that the country is currently facing a drug abuse and addiction epidemic. For example, the total number of drug overdose deaths in 2014 rose considerably over the previous year, topping 47,000 fatal overdoses in the United States.
The rise in serious drug addiction problems includes both prescription painkillers and heroin. In fact, said the CDC, prescription painkillers are often a precursor to heroin addiction because users get hooked on opioids and then later seek out cheaper alternatives like heroin.
Fentanyl Poses a Grave Danger to Drug Users
Carole Rendon, acting US attorney in Cleveland, Ohio, where painkiller overdoses have reached all-time highs, said that these look-alike painkillers “are truly a fatal overdose waiting to happen.”
Thomas Gilson, the medical examiner for Cuyahoga County in Ohio, agreed with Rendon, noting that individuals with prescription drug addictions may mistakenly think that they can abuse a certain amount of a painkiller like oxycodone, only to later realize that they have actually been using a much more powerful drug like fentanyl. Gilson said that these people “may be in for a really, really bad surprise.”
Illegal drug distributors are pushing fentanyl in Ohio, New Jersey and elsewhere in the U.S. instead of less dangerous drugs like oxycodone because these lower potency drugs can be sold for much higher prices on the black market.
To learn more, check out the Yahoo.com article, “New Twist in Addiction Crisis: Deadly Painkiller Impostors.”
If you or a loved one has been arrested for illegal possession of prescription drugs, heroin possession or any other drug offense in New Jersey, the aggressive criminal defense attorneys at Rudnick, Addonizio, Pappa & Casazza PC can help you fight the charges and avoid the most severe penalties. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.