No one wants to lose a loved one, and losing a loved one to a drug overdose may be the most brutal experience yet. As the drug epidemic in the U.S. continues to grow and expand, more attention is placed on arriving at a solution. More attention is placed on prevention, on rehabilitation, on intervention, on law enforcement action, and on community effort.
The problem is, all of this can be rather difficult to do when new strains of already highly lethal drugs come on the scene and begin wrecking havoc.
Almost everywhere we look, there is a new strain of a drug cropping up that is more potent than the last one. The most recent occurrence of this came about in Culpeper County, Virginia. In just that one county alone, a rural county, eleven heroin overdoses were recorded in the first twelve days of the month. Astounding.
And then, towards the end of the month, three overdoses occurred in one day. And all in the little rural community of Culpeper County.
According to the local sheriff, Scott H. Jenkins:
According to local investigators, the heroin responsible for fifteen overdoses in one month is a new strain of highly potent heroin, heroin that has been mixed with fentanyl, and possibly even heroin that has been mixed with carfentanil, though no factual evidence has proved that yet.
From toxicology reports, it is estimated that the heroin that cropped up in Culpeper County is fifty to one-hundred times more potent than morphine is. The incident attracted the attention of the Virginia state government, as such a rampant heroin overdose death rate in such a rural area is something to be very concerned about.
When new drugs (or new strains of old drugs) crop up, it makes drug prevention that much more difficult. All of a sudden, there is a new strain of the drug that law enforcement officers, emergency medical responders, and families are not prepared to contend with. It often feels like, just as a community has begun to contend with a drug problem and get a handle on it, a new strain crops up and begins wreaking havoc.
Every year heroin becomes more potent and more lethal. Virginia residents, residents of the Midwest, and residents of Appalachia no longer only have to worry about simple, straight, and pure heroin, but now they must contend with new strains of “synthetic heroin.”
And this is the exact reason why so many people have died from drug overdoses. They take a dose of heroin, not knowing that it is actually synthetic heroin and has been man-altered and added to with other opioids and chemicals. As the drug the addict takes is far more potent, the addict quickly overdoses and possibly dies.
In 2016, more than sixty-four thousand people died from drug overdoses. It was the highest ever death toll from drugs, a death rate unlike anything this country has ever experienced before. 2017 numbers have not been tabulated yet.
Of the 2016 numbers, forty-thousand of them were opioid overdoses, and about eighteen-thousand were thought to be from synthetic heroin. This is becoming a big problem, and we need to take massive action to prevent it.