Cincinnati, Ohio area fentanyl overdoses increase by one thousand percent over the last five years

 

Cincinnati, Ohio area fentanyl overdoses increase by one thousand percent over the last five years

By
Matthew Taylor

9 June 2018

Overdose deaths caused by the synthetic opioid Fentanyl in the Cincinnati area increased by one thousand percent over the course of the last five years, according to a new report in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Fatalities attributed to fentanyl use in Hamilton County, which includes Cincinnati and its immediate suburbs, climbed from 24 in 2013, the first year area law enforcement began noticing its spread, to 324 in 2017. The narcotic, which is often mixed with methamphetamine, cocaine, or heroin, was found to be present in 90 percent of all drugs analyzed by the county crime lab through May of this year.

The Hamilton County coroner, Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco, told the Enquirer that the drug was responsible for 85 percent of all overdoses by opioids that her office handled in the last year.

Originally developed in the 1960s as a general anesthetic, fentanyl is a synthetic opioid which does not require the cultivation of poppies to manufacture. In subsequent decades the drug was further developed into a medication to treat severe pain in cancer patients, particularly those who had developed a high tolerance to other opioids. Said to be approximately 75 times as potent as the same amount of morphine, fentanyl was the most widely used synthetic opioid as of 2017.

Due to its widespread availability, potency, and the ability of illicit chemists to create analogs many times more powerful than the original drug—some are said to be 10,000 times as strong as morphine—use of Fentanyl in the US has skyrocketed. Initially used to lace other drugs, such as cocaine, or passed off as more popular narcotics, like heroin, fentanyl quickly became popular on its own…

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