The Growing Dangers of a Deadly New Opioid


174 people in Cincinnati died of an overdose during a six day stretch at the end of August. Police officers throughout the city scrambled to respond to the growing number of reports, but with only so many available officers, it quickly became an overwhelming task according to Jamie Landrum, an officer who has served in District 3 for the past two years who spoke with Kaiser Health News.

"We were literally going from one heroin overdose, and then being on that one, and hearing someone come over [the radio] and say, ‘I have no more officers left.’”

Ohio has been dealing with a drug epidemic for some time now – a record 3,050 people died of a drug overdose in Ohio in 2015. Officials have been increasingly worried about both heroin and fentanyl, but a new and exponentially more potent drug known as carfentanil may be responsible for this recent surge in overdose deaths.

This new drug is supposedly 100 times more potent than fentanyl, a drug already 50 times stronger than heroin. Officials believe it first appeared in Ohio back in July, and while the death rate has dropped since the terrifying 174 over two days, Hamilton County’s heroin task force still estimates that as many as 25 people overdose every day. The potency of this new drug is causing problems at every level – officers are responding to and spending more time on overdose calls, EMTs need to use more Narcan – a prescription medication that is supposed to block and reverse the effects of an opioid overdose – on patients overdosing on carfentanil, and the higher death rate means that coroner’s offices need to take on a greater workload.

One of the most terrifying aspects of this new drug is how little people know about its effects. One Hamilton County coroner, Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco, told Kaiser Health News that:

“It’s what we don’t know about this drug that scares us. We don’t have any human testing data. We don’t know what the lethal level really is. There is no therapeutic level — it’s not meant for human use.”

Addiction is a powerful and terrifying thing that has claimed far too many lives over the years. If you have a loved one struggling with addiction, the most important thing to do is to get them help. At The Koffel Law Firm, our attorneys are dedicated to providing families with the means to help their children from succumbing to addiction through our Preventative Law program. If you have any questions about, or are interested in our Preventative Law program, contact us today by filling out our online form or by calling us at (614) 675-4845.

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