Heroin laced with the powerful painkiller fentanyl is suspected in a rise in fatal overdoses in Chicago.
A bad batch of heroin has lead to 70+ people in Chicago ODing in the last 72 hours http://t.co/cXuGZF0dyJ
— Brandon Wall (@Walldo) October 2, 2015
More than 20 people are now reported to have died from the bad batch of heroin.
BBC News did a feature on the heroin “epidemic” in Chicago. It was found that nearly half a million Americans are addicted to heroin.
“Much of the heroin supply comes from Mexico, where production has risen more than 600% in the last 10 years.”
The report says that nearly 34,000 twelve-to-17-year-olds try heroin as the popularity of the drug rises due to its low cost and high availability.
It is believed the recent spike in cases is due to adulterated heroin. The mixture of heroin and the pain killer fentanyl have led to the recent overdoses and deaths. Fentanyl is used as part of anaesthesia to help prevent pain after surgery or other medical procedures.
When two drugs of the same type are mixed, the effects are amplified. So, when two narcotics, particularly opiates, are taken together, the “downer” effect will eventually stop one’s breathing. This is why it is recommended to avoid alcohol when consuming any prescription medication as the effects of alcohol alone are severe and so combined with other strong drugs can lead to life threatening conditions, such as heart arrhythmia, hypothermia, the condition of overheating and dehydration present when, for example, MDMA (Ecstasy) is taken on a night out.
— Laura Halm (@WATELauraHalm) February 20, 2015
Vermont has its own heroin problem. As Rolling Stone reports, there is a crises in the use of opiates, as illustrated by the case of “Eve” who started her addiction to opiates at the age of 12-years-old.
“The sensation it produced was more seductive than any she had ever felt.”
Peter Shumlin, the governor of Vermont, recognized the problem in Vermont’s 2014 State of the State address.
“In every corner of our state, heroin and opiate-drug addiction threatens us,”
In Chicago, the current epidemic is shared in a growing number of U.S. states and cities. What is clear from the research is that high density areas are most affected by the epidemic. The drug poisoning deaths from opiate drugs in America, combined with suicide rates, uncovers mass mental illness untreated leading to loss of life.
With this epidemic, what are the authorities doing about treatment? Through heroin detox, a person can beat their addiction, but it requires specialist care, as the withdrawal symptoms are painful and can sometimes be life threatening. As depicted in the film Trainspotting, heroin is not a glamorous addiction.
This infamous scene from the cult film Trainspotting highlights the dangers of heroin use. Just say no, kids. pic.twitter.com/O0iMFJcyO3
— Visit Wakefield (@Visit_Wakefield) September 13, 2015
[Images by Spencer Platt, The White House / Getty Images / US Government]