Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

SoylentNews is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop. Only 17 submissions in the queue.
posted by Fnord666 on Friday December 14 2018, @12:23AM   Printer-friendly
from the death-dust dept.

Fentanyl is the deadliest drug in America, CDC confirms

Fentanyl is now the most commonly used drug involved in drug overdoses, according to a new government report. The latest numbers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics say that the rate of drug overdoses involving the synthetic opioid skyrocketed by about 113% each year from 2013 through 2016.

The number of total drug overdoses jumped 54% each year between 2011 and 2016. In 2016, there were 63,632 drug overdose deaths.

[...] In 2016, over 18,000 overdose deaths involved fentanyl, and 16,000 fatalities were due to heroin.

China recently agreed to reclassify fentanyl as a controlled substance to curb sales to the U.S. Will that agreement hold given ongoing trade war tensions?

Also at CBS.

Related: U.S. Life Expectancy Continues to Decline Due to Opioid Crisis
Senate Investigators Google Their Way to $766 Million of Fentanyl
"Synthetic Opioids" Now Kill More People than Prescription Opioids in the U.S.
120 Pounds (54 kg) of Fentanyl Seized in Nebraska
U.S. House of Representatives Passes Opioid Legislation; China Will Step Up Cooperation
The Dutch Supply Heroin Addicts With Dope and Get Better Results Than USA
U.S. Opioid Deaths May be Plateauing


Original Submission

Related Stories

U.S. Life Expectancy Continues to Decline Due to Opioid Crisis 64 comments

There were 42,249 deaths due to opioid overdoses in 2016, compared to a projected 41,070 deaths from breast cancer in 2017 (42,640 in 2015). U.S. life expectancy has dropped for the second year in a row:

The increase largely stemmed from the continued escalation of deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, which jumped to 19,410 in 2016 from 9,580 in 2015 and 5,540 in 2014, according to a TFAH analysis of the report.

[...] The surge in overdose deaths has depressed recent gains in U.S. life expectancy, which fell to an average age of 78.6, down 0.1 year from 2015 and marking the first two-year drop since 1962-1963.

In a separate report, the CDC linked the recent steep increases in hepatitis C infections to increases in opioid injection.

Researchers used a national database that tracks substance abuse admissions to treatment facilities in all 50 U.S. states. They found a 133 percent increase in acute hepatitis C cases that coincided with a 93 percent increase in admissions for opioid injection between 2004 to 2014.

From the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:


Original Submission

Senate Investigators Google Their Way to $766 Million of Fentanyl 66 comments

With Google, Bitcoins, and USPS, Feds realize it's stupid easy to buy fentanyl

A congressional report released Wednesday lays out just how easy it is for Americans to buy the deadly opioid fentanyl from Chinese suppliers online and have it shipped to them via the government's own postal service. The report also lays out just how difficult the practice will be to stop.

After Googling phrases such as "fentanyl for sale," Senate investigators followed up with just six of the online sellers they found. This eventually led them to 500 financial transaction records, accounting for about $766 million worth of fentanyl entering the country and at least seven traceable overdose deaths.

[...] "Thanks to our bipartisan investigation, we now know the depth to which drug traffickers exploit our mail system to ship fentanyl and other synthetic drugs into the United States," Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio said in a statement. "The federal government can, and must, act to shore up our defenses against this deadly drug and help save lives."

Related: Opioid Addiction is Big Business
Heroin, Fentanyl? Meh: Carfentanil is the Latest Killer Opioid
Tip for Darknet Drug Lords: Don't Wear Latex Gloves to the Post Office
Cop Brushes Fentanyl Off Uniform, Overdoses
Congress Reacts to Reports that a 2016 Law Hindered DEA's Ability to go after Opioid Distributors
Opioid Crisis Official; Insys Therapeutics Billionaire Founder Charged; Walgreens Stocks Narcan


Original Submission

"Synthetic Opioids" Now Kill More People than Prescription Opioids in the U.S. 51 comments

Synthetics now killing more people than prescription opioids, report says

Synthetic opioids such as fentanyl have overtaken prescription opioids as the No. 1 killer in the opioid epidemic, according to a new report.

The report, published Tuesday in the journal JAMA [DOI: 10.1001/jama.2018.2844] [DX], calculated the number and percentage of synthetic opioid-related overdose deaths in the United States between 2010 and 2016 using death certificates from the National Vital Statistics System. The researchers found that about 46% of the 42,249 opioid-related overdose deaths in 2016 involved synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, while 40% involved prescription drugs.

That's more than a three-fold increase in the presence of synthetic opioids from 2010, when synthetic drugs were involved in approximately 14% of opioid-overdose deaths.

Related: Heroin, Fentanyl? Meh: Carfentanil is the Latest Killer Opioid
Study Finds Stark Increase in Opioid-Related Admissions, Deaths in Nation's ICUs
U.S. Life Expectancy Continues to Decline Due to Opioid Crisis
Purdue Pharma to Cut Sales Force, Stop Marketing Opioids to Doctors
The More Opioids Doctors Prescribe, the More Money They Make
Two More Studies Link Access to Cannabis to Lower Use of Opioids


Original Submission

120 Pounds (54 kg) of Fentanyl Seized in Nebraska 35 comments

Record US fentanyl bust 'enough to kill 26 million people'

Nearly 120lbs (54kg) of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic painkiller, has been seized by police in Nebraska - one of the largest busts in US history.

The drugs, seized last month, could kill over 26 million people, according to estimates by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Police found the fentanyl in a fake compartment of a lorry. The driver and a passenger were arrested.

[...] It was the largest seizure of fentanyl in state history, Nebraska State Patrol said in a Twitter post on Thursday.

[...] Just 2mg of fentanyl - or a few grains of table salt - is a lethal dosage for most people, and even exposure can cause a fatal reaction, according to the DEA.

Another estimate: they could make 260 million people pain-free for a day.

Bonus story:

Mussels test positive for opioids in Seattle's Puget Sound

Scientists at the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife have found that mussels in Seattle's waters are testing positive for opioids. The finding suggests "a lot of people" are taking oxycodone in the Puget Sound, researchers say.

Also at the Puget Sound Institute.

Related: Opioid Addiction is Big Business
Heroin, Fentanyl? Meh: Carfentanil is the Latest Killer Opioid
Cop Brushes Fentanyl Off Uniform, Overdoses
Opioid Crisis Official; Insys Therapeutics Billionaire Founder Charged; Walgreens Stocks Narcan
U.S. Life Expectancy Continues to Decline Due to Opioid Crisis
Senate Investigators Google Their Way to $766 Million of Fentanyl
"Synthetic Opioids" Now Kill More People than Prescription Opioids in the U.S.
British Medical Journal Calls for Legalizing All Drugs


Original Submission

U.S. House of Representatives Passes Opioid Legislation; China Will Step Up Cooperation 23 comments

US House of Representatives passes bipartisan bill to fight opioid crisis

The measure, which passed 396 to 14, is the broadest of dozens of bills on the topic passed by the House over the past two weeks.

[...] Addiction advocates largely praise the measures as good steps forward, but say that much more work and funding is needed to tackle the issue's scale.

[...] The legislation, passed Friday, includes a range of measures to fight the epidemic, including lifting some limits on prescribing Buprenorphine, a drug used to treat opioid addiction. The bill also requires health-care professionals to write prescriptions for Medicare beneficiaries electronically in order to better track prescriptions and to allow Medicare to cover treatment at addiction treatment clinics.

China says United States domestic opioid market the crux of crisis

China's drug control agency on Monday said the United States should do more to cut its demand for opioids to tackle the use of synthetic drug fentanyl, but it vowed to step up cooperation after Chinese production of the substance had been blamed for fuelling the U.S. opioid crisis.

[...] "China's drug control agencies, now and in the years to come, will place greater emphasis on drug control cooperation between China and the United States," Liu Yuejin, deputy head of China's National Narcotics Commission, told a news conference. "But I believe that to resolve this the more important issue is for the United States to strive to reduce and compress the great demand and drug consumption markets of opioids," he said. While China accepts that some new psychoactive substances, including fentanyl, manufactured in China are sold in the United States, the substances are not yet readily abused and trafficked in China itself, he said.

[...] Beijing has taken steps to crack down on the production and export of synthetic drugs, and has placed fentanyl and 22 other related compounds on its list of controlled substances.

See also: What's in the House's bills to address the opioid crisis — and what's not

It also remains unclear exactly how and when the Senate will craft its own legislation. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the legislation was a priority but acknowledged the Senate does not have a specific timeline for opioids legislation.


Original Submission

The Dutch Supply Heroin Addicts With Dope and Get Better Results Than USA 157 comments

This Bold Plan to Fight Opioid Overdoses Could Save Lives--But Some Conservatives Think It's "Immoral"

With Ohio beset by a massive public health around opioid use and overdoses--more than 4,000 Ohioans died of opioid overdoses in 2016--the Cleveland Plain Dealer sent travel editor Susan Glaser to Amsterdam in search of innovative approaches to the problem. While there, she rediscovered Holland's long-standing, radical, and highly effective response to heroin addiction and properly asked whether it might be applied to good effect here.

The difference in drug-related death rates between the two countries is staggering. In the U.S., the drug overdose death rate is 245 per million, nearly twice the rate of its nearest competitor, Sweden, which came in second with 124 per million. But in Holland, the number is a vanishingly small 11 per million. In other words, Americans are more than 20 times more likely to die of drug overdoses than the Dutch.

For Plain Dealer readers, the figures that really hit home are the number of state overdose deaths compared to Holland. Ohio, with just under 12 million people, saw 4,050 drug overdose deaths in 2016; the Netherlands, with 17 million people, saw only 235.

What's the difference? The Dutch government provides free heroin to several score [where a score=20] hardcore heroin addicts and has been doing so for the past 20 years. Public health experts there say that in addition to lowering crime rates and improving the quality of life for users, the program is one reason overdose death rates there are so low. And the model could be applied here, said Amsterdam heroin clinic operator Ellen van den Hoogen.

[...]"It's not a program that is meant to help you stop," acknowledged van den Hoogen. "It keeps you addicted."

That's not a sentiment sits well with American moralizers, such as George W. Bush's drug czar, John Walters, whom Glaser consulted for the story. He suggested that providing addicts with drugs was immoral and not "real treatment," but he also resorted to lies about what the Dutch are doing.

He claimed the Dutch are "keeping people addicted for the purpose of controlling them" and that the Dutch have created "a colony of state-supported, locked-up addicts."

Your humble Ed (who rechopped the quoting, so head off to the full article(s) to see the full story) adds: of course, this is quite a contentious issue, digging deep into moralistic debate, and where clearly there's little agreed-upon objective truth and plenty of opinions. However, we are a community dotted widely round the globe, and so I'm sure there are plenty of stories of what has or has not worked in different locales.

Previous: Tens or Hundreds of Billions of Dollars Needed to Combat Opioid Crisis?
Portugal Cut Drug Addiction Rates in Half by Rejecting Criminalization


Original Submission

U.S. Opioid Deaths May be Plateauing 19 comments

Opioid Deaths May Be Starting To Plateau, HHS Chief Says

The American opioid crisis is far from over, but early data indicate the number of deaths are beginning to level off, according to Alex Azar, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, citing "encouraging" results in overdose trends.

[...] In 2017, the number of Americans dying from opioid overdoses rose to 72,000 from 64,000 the previous year. However, according to new provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control, the numbers stopped rising toward the end of 2017, a trend that has continued into the beginning of this year. It is "finally bending in the right direction," Azar said. He added that the death toll flattening out is "hardly a victory," especially at such high levels. Current government statistics show that opioids kill over 115 Americans each day.

[...] On Wednesday, President Trump is expected to sign a bill recently passed by Congress that expands Medicaid opioid treatment programs and workforce training initiatives, and supports FDA research to find new options for non-opioid pain relief.

It's Too Soon to Celebrate the End of the Opioid Epidemic

While we don't know why deaths have begun to fall, experts say there are a few likely reasons. Doctors are prescribing fewer painkillers. More states are making naloxone, which reverses opioid overdoses, widely available. And it's possible that more addicts have started medication-assisted therapies like buprenorphine, which is how France solved its own opioid epidemic years ago. Indeed, the states with the biggest declines in overdose deaths were those like Vermont that have used evidence-based, comprehensive approaches to tackling opioid addiction.

[...] Still, it's possible this is a "false dawn," as Keith Humphreys, an addiction expert at Stanford University, put it to me. "Opioid-overdose deaths did not increase from 2011 to 2012, and many people declared that the tide was turning. But in 2013, they began racing up again," he said. Deaths from synthetic opioids like fentanyl are still rising, as are those from methamphetamines.

Related: President Trump Declares the Opioid Crisis a National Emergency
U.S. Life Expectancy Continues to Decline Due to Opioid Crisis
"Synthetic Opioids" Now Kill More People than Prescription Opioids in the U.S.
Tens or Hundreds of Billions of Dollars Needed to Combat Opioid Crisis?
U.S. House of Representatives Passes Opioid Legislation; China Will Step Up Cooperation
The Dutch Supply Heroin Addicts With Dope and Get Better Results Than USA


Original Submission

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
(1)
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by realDonaldTrump on Friday December 14 2018, @12:44AM (2 children)

    by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Friday December 14 2018, @12:44AM (#774213) Homepage Journal

    Please do not forget the great help that my good friend, President Xi of China, has given to the United States with the Fentanyl, particularly at the Boarder of North Korea. Without him it would have been a much longer, tougher, process!

    And by the way, Viagra. So much Fake Viagra comes from North Korea. Our men go to use their "whatevers," they're at Half Mast. And not out of respect for Bush Original (RIP!!). We're looking very closely into that one, believe me.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by krishnoid on Friday December 14 2018, @12:54AM

      by krishnoid (1156) on Friday December 14 2018, @12:54AM (#774217)

      I see your opioid addiction control efforts, and raise you one Huawei CFO amnesty. I'd also like to buy some more chips using my border security budget down payment the Democrats agreed to.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 14 2018, @01:41AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 14 2018, @01:41AM (#774231)

      Go back tweet crazy stuff orange man bad one.

  • (Score: 4, Disagree) by bob_super on Friday December 14 2018, @12:45AM (12 children)

    by bob_super (1357) on Friday December 14 2018, @12:45AM (#774214)

    > China recently agreed to reclassify fentanyl as a controlled substance to curb sales to the U.S.

    That's the wrong approach to solve the problem.
    Make it highly available, make it cheap, make it strong.
    Kill the heroin market, either by scaring the users, or by killing them.
    If drug addicts are so deep in their addiction that want to take the risk despite the evidence it could be their last hit, let it happen.

    Some will be missed by their families and community, but for many others it will be a relief compared to years of suffering and slow decay.

    • (Score: 4, Funny) by Ethanol-fueled on Friday December 14 2018, @01:04AM (2 children)

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Friday December 14 2018, @01:04AM (#774222) Homepage

      Junkies (including pillheads) are the whiny moody type, and may steal nonviolently but aren't nearly as bad as the tweekers. Junkies also are often very intelligent and make good redemption stories.

      Tweekers, however, are irredeemable. We should have our CIA Mexican drug cartels start adulterating (or replacing entirely) their meth with purified strychnine. Junkies whine and nod off a lot, but tweekers will rape your grandma and then stand in front of 7-11 all night begging for cigarettes while making statuesque poses.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 14 2018, @02:30AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 14 2018, @02:30AM (#774239)

        I do you know about me?

    • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Friday December 14 2018, @01:13AM

      by krishnoid (1156) on Friday December 14 2018, @01:13AM (#774223)

      If *China* reclassifies it as controlled? They could make Fentanyl use punishable by death -- works either way.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by edIII on Friday December 14 2018, @01:19AM (1 child)

      by edIII (791) on Friday December 14 2018, @01:19AM (#774225)

      That's idiocy in this case though. Fentanyl is already super strong, that's the problem. This is stuff so deadly, that a bucket in your back seat can take out all of New York. I don't consider it a purely DEA issue, and is also a damned bioweapon that the Feds should be tracking.

      Fentanyl belongs in one place only; Hospitals. That's for very controlled usage in pain management situations. I might want to be injected with it, if I got stung by a Bullet Ant. That's how strong Fentanyl is. If we insist on it being sold, it needs to be in very low doses, and not OTC. Cheap, or expensive is also irrelevant, as it's already very cheap to produce. What we need is prescription only for it, and safety measures against over-dosing, which is extremely easy via recreational drugs.

      You said what would really happen too, "scaring the users, or by killing them". I'm not sure genocide through inaction is the greatest idea here. The populations are bigger than you think, and not everybody taking heroin started through bad judgment. So many, many, many of them started through pain management under the care of a doctor, then progressed over 10 years to heroin. I've personally helped with a case where the patient was being given such large does of Oxycontin, it was causing other problems. This person was very wise though, because they said they refused to every try heroin. Even though that was exactly what some others were saying. That's a fucked position to be in. The doctor's can no longer help, you're labeled a criminal almost trying to obtain drugs in a highly regulated environment, and you're in real pain all the time. I can understand and forgive somebody in that position for trying heroin, since a path with opiates always results in it. There's the biggest dirty secret of all; Opiates suck for long term pain management.

      There's a nasty conspiracy in this country to push Oxycontin for Big Pharma, and it has resulted in a lot of victims out there that have no choice but to push ever higher now in the opiates category. All of it under a doctor's supervision too. I don't know the percentage of heroin users that started from pain management gone wrong, but it's not trivial or negligible either.

      It's too simplistic to treat all possible users of fentanyl as unsophisticated junkies with poor character.

      --
      Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
      • (Score: 2) by Snotnose on Friday December 14 2018, @01:47AM

        by Snotnose (1623) on Friday December 14 2018, @01:47AM (#774233)

        This is stuff so deadly, that a bucket in your back seat can take out all of New York.

        You say that like it's a bad thing. I'm so sick of 1/2" of snow on the east coast results in a full 30 minutes of national news coverage, yet a flood or wildfire on the west coast might get Al Roker saying in passing "and look at what's happening on the west coast".

        / Sandy Eggin since 1963

        --
        I hate it when I see an old person, then realize we went to high school together.
    • (Score: 2) by Snotnose on Friday December 14 2018, @01:38AM (2 children)

      by Snotnose (1623) on Friday December 14 2018, @01:38AM (#774229)

      I hate to admit it but this has it's appeal. That said, my understanding is that if heroin users can get a regular fix they can function just fine in society.

      Which begs the question, can we get fentanyl in the local supply of meth? Meth heads are scum of the earth and need to be eradicated ASAP. You can't rehabilitate them, just feed them fentanyl and let the problem solve itself.

      --
      I hate it when I see an old person, then realize we went to high school together.
    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Friday December 14 2018, @02:50AM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 14 2018, @02:50AM (#774247) Homepage Journal

      Agreed.

      And, I'd like to add that some part of the drug problem lies with the US government's history with drugs.

      Start with the "Killer Weed". For more than half a century, the government has campaigned against cannabis, claiming that it makes people crazy, it can kill people, that it's a gateway drug. On and on it goes, but real life evidence proved it all to be a lie. As a result, people don't believe government. So . . . if government is lying about one drug, they are probably lying about other drugs. What about cocaine? A lot of what they told us was a lie, regarding cocaine. So, some people reason, all the rest of government's claims about drugs are probably lies too. All those designer drugs, opium, heroine, all probably safe if you know what you're doing.

      If government had been honest all along, a lot of that stupidity would probably have been avoided.

      Of course, that does not take into account the truly stupid people who know nothing, and care even less. But, you've already addressed those people. Just let them have whatever it is that they want, and let them kill themselves. We, who are left, can then get on with our lives, without them making us miserable with their suffering.

      --
      Through a Glass, Darkly -George Patton
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Immerman on Friday December 14 2018, @03:07AM (1 child)

      by Immerman (3985) on Friday December 14 2018, @03:07AM (#774254)

      Make it a standard purity, and watch deaths plummet to almost nothing.
      It seems like accidental overdoes and/or toxic impurities are generally responsible for the vast majority of direct drug deaths. And last time I checked, the golden boy of alcohol was far and away the leader of indirect drug-related deaths.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by captain normal on Friday December 14 2018, @05:58AM (4 children)

    by captain normal (2205) on Friday December 14 2018, @05:58AM (#774285)

    Tobacco smoking causes 480,000 deaths per year in the good old U.S. of A.
    https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts/index.htm [cdc.gov]
    Alcohol causes 88,000 deaths per year in the U.S. of A.
    https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm [cdc.gov]
    18,000 deaths per year due to Fentanyl?
    Sure Fentanyl may be quicker, but is it really the deadliest?

    --
    When life isn't going right, go left.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 14 2018, @06:34AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 14 2018, @06:34AM (#774296)

      Once something becomes a boogie man they start linking all sorts of crap to it. It helps to get papers if you can say: "[The thing I study] is linked to [big number] deaths every year" at the beginning of your paper.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 14 2018, @07:01AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 14 2018, @07:01AM (#774307)

      But those are Good Guy Team drugs, so they don't count.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Friday December 14 2018, @01:42PM

      by VLM (445) on Friday December 14 2018, @01:42PM (#774383)

      Most of my smoking ancestors and ancestors in laws died in their 60s/70s and most of my non-smoking died in their 70s/80s so we'll call smoking as about 15 lost years fairly well guaranteed.

      I'm under the vague impression that fentanyl kills mostly gen-Z 20-somethings, so figure 60 lost years with no math support or proof at all other than screeching propaganda TV news.

      Google claims there's a million heroin addicts in the USA an fentanyl is killing about 1% of them per year, which isn't really that much pressure on the population, it takes the average user a century of use to die of fentanyl. It shouldn't lower the average age of death of users by very much. As such if all the news stories are about young kids dying, that would imply the "real" problem is young kids being addicts, not that a tiny fraction OD.

      So I'm not sure if near certain odds of losing 15 years from smoking compares really well to fentanyl where losing either 60 years if you're really unlucky but on average most lose nothing at all.

      Also my spell corrector wants to call "fentanyl" as "entangle" I guess my browser isn't designed for degenerates.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by crafoo on Friday December 14 2018, @06:11PM

      by crafoo (6639) on Friday December 14 2018, @06:11PM (#774493)

      I knew a family of heavy drinkers. A large catholic family. All dead by 55 (most by 45) except 1 or 2 who managed to stop. It's pretty sad especially in the later years of their lifespan. Fentanyl is bad, but it's also quicker, which may be a mercy to people who will never be able to bring themselves to quit.

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 14 2018, @12:31PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 14 2018, @12:31PM (#774352)

    A good start.

(1)