With the growing opioid epidemic, drug overdoses are at an all time high with no end in sight. Many of the drugs being purchased on the streets are far more dangerous than people think. In reference to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s emerging trends and alerts, we have identified the Top 10 Dangerous Street Drugs of 2018 based upon emerging trends and patterns in the United States metropolitan areas and states.
- Heroin Laced with Carfentanil – This was first reported by authorities in Ohio and Florida in 2016. It is likely Carfentanil is being mixed with heroin and other street drugs but what is not known is the frequency and amount. Carfentanil is a powerful derivative of Fentanyl, a synthetic narcotic produced from morphine. While Fentanyl is 100 times more powerful than morphine, Carfentanil is 10,000 times more potent than morphine. It’s approved application is primarily for tranquilizing elephants and sedating large animals in the veterinary field. This drug is not approved for human use. It is so potent that when veterinarians handle it, they have to use protective gear and for breathing and handling. The DEA has issued a nationwide warning to the public and law enforcement about this dangerous opioid.
- Heroin Laced with Fentanyl – There has been a surge of Fentanyl related overdose deaths since 2013. Especially hit hard with the surge are cities like Baltimore and Detroit. Users are unknowingly taking Fentanyl in what they believe to be pure heroin resulting in overdose. Fentanyl is an opioid much stronger than heroin.
- Fake Oxycodone Laced with Fentanyl – First reported in May of 2018 from the Gulfport, Mississippi police department, there are counterfeit Oxycodone tablets circulating that look authentic but actually made of synthetic Fentanyl. In a DEA lab it was revealed that these pills contained no Oxycodone at all. Pills containing Fentanyl carry a high risk of overdose and death.
- Cocaine Laced with Fentanyl – The New York City Health Department is warning citizens who use cocaine that the potent opioid Fentanyl has been involved in an increasing number of cocaine overdose deaths. The NYPD Police laboratory testing data has confirmed the presence of Fentanyl in cocaine products sold on the street as street drugs. Read the New York City Health Department advisory here.
- Fake Prescription Drugs Laced with Fentanyl – The DEA reports that the United States is in the middle of a Fentanyl crisis while street drugs traffickers are flooding the drug market with counterfeit prescription drugs containing Fentanyl. These pills look like legitimate prescription pain relievers causing large numbers of overdoses in many parts of the country. Read the DEA report here.
- Opana – Indiana health officials have recently announced a fast spreading outbreak of new HIV cases that are linked to injection drug abuse of the powerful prescription opioid painkiller Opana. Injecting drugs and sharing injection equipment is one of the main routes of transmitting HIV. This drug is extremely addictive and in 2017 the FDA asked the manufacturer to remove this product from the US market mainly due to the opioid epidemic in the US.
- Kratom – The FDA and the CDC are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to products containing Kratom. The CDC reported that 28 people in 20 states have been infected with 11 people being hospitalized but no deaths reported. Kratom has been outlawed in many states but it is still readily available. Kratom is a tropical deciduous tree native to Southeast Asia with leaves that contain a psychoactive opioid. It is used for pain relief, mood enhancing effects and as an aphrodisiac. The FDA and CDC are currently working on identifying specific brand names and suppliers of products and will share more information when it becomes available.
- Synthetic Marijuana – Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Maryland Health services are issuing a warning about the dangers of synthetic marijuana product use reporting symptoms similar to those experienced by cases linked to cannabinoid products containing rat poison. Synthetic marijuana chemicals, while potentially dangerous, are not known to cause bleeding. Additionally, Illinois has reported 81 cases as of April, 2018. Hospitalization for symptoms from tainted synthetic marijuana include coughing up blood, bloody nose, blood in the urine and bleeding gums. Two people have died as a result. Read more about this alert here.
- Loperamide – Misuse of Loperamide has been reported since 2003. It is not common but has been reported all over the country. This over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medication is used in brand names such as Maalox, Pepto and Imodium and is classified as an opioid medication. There are reports of it being misused by drug users to help with opioid withdrawal and trying to get high. The intentional abuse and misuse of Loperamide has steadily increased. Read the full report here.
- E-Cigarettes – While not technically a “street drug” The FDA has been conducting a nationwide effort to stop the sale of a popular e-cigarette brand to the youth called JUUL. Warnings were sent out to 40 retailers as of April, 2018. The JUUL brand is popular in the youth and teens because it resembles a flash drive and difficult for parents and teachers to recognize. Alarmingly, this product has high levels of nicotine and emissions that are hard to see. Recent reports are showing that teens are using and liking these products without knowing there is Nicotine in them. This can cause changes in an adolescent brain that is still developing. Read the FDA report here.
Street Drugs are more dangerous than ever. If you have any questions regarding addiction and how Lumiere Healing Centers can help, please contact us today at 513-909-2225.