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Use Of Deadly Drug 50 Times Stronger Than Heroin On The Rise In The US
Broward County health officials have issued an urgent warning to residents warning of a street drug that has been connected to more than 50 deaths in the last six months.
The Broward County medical examiner released lab test results showing that 53 deaths have been tied to Carfentanil, a drug commonly used to sedate 13,000 pound elephants.
Carfentanil is considered 100 times deadlier than fentanyl, which experts claims is 50 times more lethal than heroin.
The drug is so dangerous, first responders and other medical help are at risk from simply breathing fumes.
Often times, people buying drugs on the streets are unaware of what they're actually using.
"If you're buying heroin or cocaine, or any drug on the streets for that matter, it could be laced with Carfentanil, and if it is there's a very high chance you will die," said Dr. Craig Mallak, Broward's chief medical examiner.
The DEA has previously issued a warning about Carfentanil to warn citizens about its dangers.
So what exactly is carfentanil and why is its use on the rise?
Controlled in the U.S., but Not in China
First produced in 1974 in the U.S., carfentanil was marketed under the brand name Wildnil. It is a controlled substance in the U.S. and intended only as a tranquilizer for large animals such as elephants. However, it is readily available in China. As many as 16 online companies were offering carfentanil for export to the U.S. and beyond for less than $3,000 per kilogram, an AP investigation discovered last month. One even bragged about it being a “hot sales product.” Impact in the U.S.
In the U.S., carfentanil has been increasingly laced with heroin to form a deadly cocktail and adds to the already growing opioid epidemic across the country. The Drug Enforcement Agency warned that carfentanil can easily resemble both heroin and cocaine and urges individuals to use extreme caution. Early last month, Wayne County, Michigan, which includes the city of Detroit, reported 19 deaths associated with carfentanil since July. Similar reports have been occurring across the country, particularly in the Midwest.
It is not just overdose deaths that have made officials in the U.S. concerned by the growing presence of carfentanil. After fentanyl, a related drug, was used by Russian forces against Chechen rebels who had taken hundreds of people hostage in a Moscow theater in 2002, the U.S. began working on strategies to counter its possible use by terrorists.
“Countries that we are concerned about were interested in using it for offensive purposes,” said Andrew Weber, assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs from 2009 to 2014, told the AP. “We are also concerned that groups like ISIS could order it commercially.” Deadly Effects
In the Moscow theater siege, close to 200 people died after Russia pumped carfentanil into the theater, showing its deadly effects when simply ingested through the air. Indeed, it is the most potent opioid in commercial use, according to the DEA. Even a small amount absorbed through the skin can be deadly and law enforcement agencies have been warned about how to safely handle it. The DEA states that symptoms of exposure to the chemical include respiratory arrest, drowsiness, sedation, pinpoint pupils and clammy skin. The effects can begin within minutes of exposure. More than 10,000 times more potent than morphine, its lethal dose in humans is just two milligrams. What to do if Exposed
Naloxone is the antidote for opioids, but, in the case of carfentanil exposure, it may take multiple doses to be effective, warns the DEA.
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The Forgotten Mom is a program specifically designed for expecting Moms who are battling with alcohol and drug addiction. The staff at Reawakening’s Wellness Center is proud to support and step forward to address the challenges for Mother’s and her unborn child. Reawakening’s Wellness Center is one of the few detox centers in South Florida that offers a treatment and detox program for pregnant women.
We offer traditional 12 step and we offer Smart Recovery groups, as well as Art and Music therapy. A spiritual advisor, massage, acupuncture, yoga and guided meditation help round out our programming.
RWC is JCAHO Accredited. In addition, our staff is bilingual and we treat pregnant women in their first and second trimester. We use a variety of therapy’s including Motivational Interviewing, Solution Focused Therapy and EMDR, among others.
"These past 30 days at Reawakenings Wellness Center, in Miramar Florida, have been a true paradigm of excellence, comfort and health in my recovery from drug addiction. Immediately, upon my arrival, I was put at ease by the caring nursing and administrative teams. They made me feel comfortable, both physically and mentally."