Recently the Baltimore Sun published a piece about counterfeit oxycodone in Harford County Maryland. This counterfeit-cocktail is linked to an increasing number of deaths in that area. In May 2016, three people overdosed in one weekend. The counterfeit pills are so dangerous because they contain fentanyl, heroin, and caffeine instead of the pure oxycodone that is expected.
Those at risk must be made aware that this counterfeit oxycodone in Harford County is even more dangerous than heroin. Fentanyl, which is treacherously strong, is being used across the country as a substance used to cut heroin. However, the counterfeit oxycodone in Harford County has taken both substance abuse treatment professionals and law enforcement by surprise .
The Counterfeit Oxycodone in Harford County
Police and treatment professionals have issued public warnings to those who use oxycodone in Harford County. Law enforcement officials struggled with the decision to publicize the counterfeit pain pills for fear of creating a demand for them. Many users might seek the stronger high, assuming they can handle it, even if others could not. Police determined the risk of death from the counterfeit product overruled those concerns. The counterfeit pills confiscated by law enforcement look exactly like real pain pills, and the public had to be warned.
What Do You Know About Fentanyl?
Fentanyl was originally marketed as a component of anesthesia to be used during extremely invasive surgical procedures. The intent was that patients would feel no pain notwithstanding the extraordinary anesthetic drugs already being used. Fentanyl was said to be 100 times stronger than morphine. Surgeons and anesthesiologists treated it with deep respect when it came into use in the 1980’s.
As time passed, its use became more commonplace. It was added to the anesthetic cocktail for less invasive procedures. Patients occasionally awoke from anesthesia and spoke about memories they had of the procedure even if they had seemed to be asleep. This prompted doctors to use fentanyl more frequently because it would erase the person’s memory. It’s strength as a painkiller and its ability to erase memory should have warned users of its dangers.
However, people who suffer from opiate addiction experience perhaps the most compelling euphoria on the face of the earth. That euphoria is followed by the most terrible withdrawal symptoms and cravings you can imagine. Any opiate that can be obtained cheaply and quickly becomes a necessity to fighting these withdrawals. While heroin, codeine, and other opiate pain medications are based from the organic poppy plant, fentanyl is a laboratory creation. Like any man-made product, it can now be made cheaply and quickly, making it a go-to for those seeking to avoid the sickness of withdrawal.
Death by the Numbers
The death toll is even worse in Baltimore County, according to a report released by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. In 2014, the number of deaths attributed to fentanyl more than tripled throughout the state, from 58 in 2013 to 185. During 2014 there were only 2 fentanyl deaths in Harford County, compared with 71 in Baltimore City.
However, heroin overdoses in Harford County just this year reached 93 as of May 2016, including 13 deaths. With the influx of counterfeit oxycodone in Harford County, we can conclude it is the cause of many of those deaths.
Learn About Narcan
Narcan,or naloxone, is an injectable or inhalable medication that can reverse the effects of opiates if it is administered in time. When Narcan is administered, it’s vital to also call paramedics, even if the revived person insists they are okay. The Narcan could leave the bloodstream before all of the opiates do depending on the amount taken. Additionally, the recipient of the Narcan will be thrown into an instant state of painful withdrawal. In either case, the paramedics are a necessary call in this unstable situation.
You can protect your loved one who may be using counterfeit oxycodone in Harford County by reading about the regulations for using Narcan. If you have a family member or friend at risk of overdose, you can receive a prescription for Narcan to keep on hand. The laws will also provide you with immunity for administering the Narcan, whether or not the person survives the overdose.
The best advice is to call 911 immediately if you think someone is experiencing an overdose. Even if Narcan is available, there are too many complications to take a risk. Death from fentanyl, or drugs containing fentanyl such as the counterfeit oxycodone in Harford County, can take place almost immediately.
Ask for Help
If you are using heroin or oxycodone in Harford County, it’s time to learn about treatment options in your community. Methadone programs help countless people stop their addictions by blocking the painful withdrawal symptoms and cravings that cause people to relapse. If you know someone who is using, you cannot force them into treatment—but you can call your local methadone program to learn more about treatment and have the information available for the person you care about.