Fentanyl-Laced Cocaine Is A Problem Everywhere
Fentanyl-laced cocaine recently made headlines after a shocking loss in the world of comedy, but it’s not a trend that’s in California alone. Drugs of all kinds across the US have been laced with fentanyl, a drug over one hundred times the strength of cocaine. Last August, in New York, six people died from batches of cocaine within the span of a few weeks. And in 2018, the Drug Enforcement Administration put a warning about trafficked cocaine they uncovered that contained both fentanyl, and its cousin, carfentanil. Carfentanil is at least one thousand times as strong as fentanyl; its medicinal use has only been for tranquilizing large animals like elephants.
Fentanyl-Laced Cocaine Tragedy in Los Angeles
Earlier this month, a heartbreaking tragedy involving four prominent comedians took place. After snorting cocaine at a party in Venice Beach, first responders were called to a home in Venice Beach. Upon arrival, they found comedians Fuquan Johnson, Natalie Williamson, and Enrico Colangeli dead from a suspected overdose. In addition, comedian and actress Kate Quigby spent over a week recovering after entering the hospital in critical condition.
Investigators presume that fentanyl in the cocaine was the cause of death but do not confirm yet. It's a trend that first responders are seeing across the country.
Why Is Fentanyl in Cocaine So Dangerous/Deadly?
Many people who use drugs like cocaine recreationally don’t use opioids regularly. People with substance use disorder may have a drug of choice, preferring only “uppers” like cocaine and meth. Other people with addiction may use a cocktail of drugs, especially to counteract one drug with unpleasant side effects.
Fentanyl is a silent killer; it’s white and easily added to pills or powders without detection.
The reason fentanyl can cause deadly overdoses is simple. If a person who accidentally takes the potent drug doesn’t use opioids, they have no tolerance to the drug. So it can quickly kill a person who doesn’t use opioids.
Another reason tainted cocaine is so dangerous is that its potency as an opioid is nearly 100 times as strong as morphine. As a result, ingestion can be harmful to even a regular heroin user.
Naloxone, the opioid reversal drug, can only reverse the effects of opioids. If a person who uses cocaine overdoses, there is no way to reverse the results of the cocaine. Often, it can cause a heart attack or other life-threatening issues, which can really only be handled by a first responder.
Harm Reduction / Overdose Prevention
There is no 100% way to avoid an overdose from illicit drugs. Drug dealers may buy their supplies from sources overseas, which often are tainted with fentanyl.
People with substance use disorder should carry Naloxone, the overdose reversal drug. Even if your drug of choice isn’t opioids, it’s a good thing to have around in case of accidental overdose or if an acquaintance or friend uses opioids. Some nonprofits also offer needle exchanges for intravenous drug users and fentanyl test strips, which are very useful in helping drug users recognize a tainted supply of drugs and make better decisions about their use.
If you or somebody you love suffers from addiction, harm reduction can help save a life. However, the only foolproof way to stay safe from overdose is getting clean and sober. It's a way to reclaim the quality of life for people who are tired of suffering from addiction.
Getting Help for Addiction
Are you sick and tired of your addiction? Are you ready to reclaim your life? Substance use disorder is a disease that requires treatment. We can help you get started on the path to recovery. Give us a call at 619-363-4767 to learn more about your options. We offer a safe and compassionate environment to help you begin the journey.