Fentanyl now kills more people in the US than any other drug. It seems to have started with 14 overdoses in Rhode Island in 2013.
“In retrospect, the 2013 arrests of 20-year-old Rhode Island heroin dealer Victor “Fat Boy” Burgos and his 19-year-old accomplice were the earliest warning signs that a wave of deadly synthetic opioids had hit the US black market.
Between March and May 2013, the duo sold heroin laced with an unknown second drug. The tainted product led to the lethal overdoses of 14 people.
Now five years later, fentanyl and its chemical cousins kill more people in the US than any other drug — accounting for around 20,000 deaths in 2016 and an estimated 25,000 in 2017. These synthetic drugs, used for decades in cancer and hospice care, are 30 to 50 times more potent than the plant-based heroin. In the last few years, fentanyl has been found lurking not only in heroin, but meth and cocaine, and drug users often have no idea how much, or whether, any fentanyl is in their illegal purchase.
The story of how, exactly, fentanyl infiltrated the US illicit drug market remains murky, with blame bouncing from Mexico to China to Canada, depending on who’s asked. Regardless of where it started, the story of fentanyl’s spread helps explain the historic epidemic of overdoses that followed those Fat Boy cases five years ago.”
Source: BuzzFeed.com – March 11, 2018
See related article on Fentanyl You Can’t Overdose on Fentanyl by Touching It available at: https://tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/8xk4jk/touching-fentanyl-absorbed-through-skin