In the aftermath of the shocking drug overdose death of Prince a few months ago, prescription drug abuse has been a hot topic in news articles and blog posts. Now one particular prescription opioid, fentanyl, is getting attention as recent reports indicate that the extremely powerful drug is causing overdose deaths in New Jersey at an alarming rate.
The problem is that many people hooked on prescription painkillers are now aware that fentanyl is more powerful than the narcotics they are already using. So the illegal market for prescription drugs has adapted: fentanyl is now manufactured in China and Mexico and smuggled into the United States for sale on the black market and through other illegal channels.
In fact, the high potency of fentanyl makes it an attractive option for illegal drug manufacturers and distributors because it can be trafficked in small amounts and more easily concealed from law enforcement. Moreover, the fact that fentanyl can be used in a variety of ways – smoked, snorted, ingested and even absorbed through the skin – also makes it easier for drug traffickers to distribute and sell.
Fentanyl Can Be Deadly
Fentanyl is between 25 and 50 times more powerful than a drug like heroin. The high potency of fentanyl means that anti-overdose drugs like Narcan (naloxone) are less likely to work on individuals who have overdosed. The end result is that fentanyl overdoses are often fatal.
According to Carl J. Kotowski, special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Newark NJ, fentanyl poses far greater risks for drug users than heroin or other narcotics. That’s because heroin addicts may actually be able to survive an overdose, but “with fentanyl there are often no do-overs or second chances.” Even a tiny amount of fentanyl, noted Kotowski, can potentially be fatal to a drug user.
The reality is that prescription drug abuse and addiction are very serious problems throughout the United States, including New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Perhaps nowhere is the problem worse than in New Jersey, where abuse of fentanyl has reached an all-time high. Between January 2015 and June 2015, 150 people died due to fentanyl use, representing a significant rise over the total number of fentanyl overdose deaths in NJ in previous years.
For more information, access the NJ.com article, “Deaths from the Drug That Killed Prince Are Skyrocketing in N.J.”
If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with a drug offense like illegal prescription drug possession or prescription fraud, you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. The experienced South Jersey criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty are prepared to help you fight your drug possession charges and avoid the most severe penalties. Contact us now to schedule a free consultation about your case.