The Fentanyl Epidemic
Although many types of drugs are sold and abused in Texas, one has led to the worst drug crisis in American history. That drug is Fentanyl, a pain reliever that was heavily prescribed by doctors and is also illegally produced for its potent heroin-like effects. Explore how Fentanyl became an epidemic that resulted in thousands of deaths in recent years.
Understanding Fentanyl and its Uses
It may seem odd that the most lethal drug epidemic was caused by a medically approved drug that is regularly prescribed by doctors, but that’s the case with Fentanyl. While many pain relievers are regularly prescribed, Fentanyl is particularly potent– The CDC states that it’s 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Patients using the drug experience an effect that’s similar to heroin and many become severely addicted to Fentanyl after a short time.
One of the worst aspects of Fentanyl is that the rate of overdoses is soaring throughout Texas and the rest of the country. This includes high profile overdoses like the recent deaths of Tom Petty, Prince, and hip hop artist, Mac Miller. With its high addictive potential, Fentanyl has led to more overdoses than any drug of its kind.
Fentanyl in Texas
As a border state, Texas is on the front lines in the war against the Fentanyl epidemic. Deaths from all types of drug overdoses have tripled over the last 18 years and the Fentanyl problem is a major contributor. While Fentanyl isn’t the only drug fueling the opioid crisis in Texas, it is the most destructive and is responsible for more overdose deaths than any other. It’s also important to note that Texas has one of the lowest rates of overdose death in the country.
Important Statistics on Fentanyl
Classified as a Schedule II drug by the Federal Government, Fentanyl is highly illegal. Nonetheless, it’s popularity has made it one of the most frequently traded drugs by gangs and cartels. Peruse these statistics on this synthetic pain medication:
- Of the more than 64,000 overdose deaths in 2016, the largest increase was Fentanyl, which accounted for at least 20,000 deaths.
- While the national rate of overdose deaths is 14.6 per 100,000, Texas has a much lower rate, at only 5.1 per 100,000.
- In 2007, Fentanyl and similar synthetic drugs caused just 118 deaths in Texas, but that amount soared to 348 in 2017.
- In 2017, doctors in Texas wrote 53.1 prescriptions for opioids per every 100 people. This rate is lower than the national average of 58.7 per 100 people.
- Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is caused by pregnant mothers who abuse Fentanyl and other opioids – one baby is born with NAS symptoms every 15 minutes.
Arrested for a Drug Charge? Call Phillip A. Linder
The opioid crisis has affected millions of lives across the country, and although death rates are lower in Texas, the problem is very real here in the Lone Star State as well. If you’ve been arrested for possessing or selling opioids, you’ll need a lawyer who’s deeply familiar with the courts of Dallas. Phillip Linder has over 25 years of experience defending clients in the Dallas area. Don’t hesitate to call for a free consultation.