The Rise of Fentanyl
The drug crisis is constantly changing, shifting, and evolving. It never quite stayed the same. While drug abuse and addiction has been a constant in our modern society, the substances drug users are becoming hooked on seems to change with the season. The whole addiction crisis started with painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin. After a while, the shift of attention went over to stronger opioids like heroin and fentanyl. The fentanyl problem seemed to go from 0 to 60 overnight, with overdoses and deaths popping up almost everywhere. This is when the epidemic took hold and nearly every media outlet across the country was covering the newest scourge of American society. While new opioid addicts are still created on a daily basis and lives are lost just as frequently, the overall opioid crisis has changed to strictly being a fentanyl crisis. Pills nor heroin are as commonly used and abused as fentanyl is. The killer drug is literally everywhere and those who believe they are hooked on heroin are really hooked on just fentanyl.
The previous year’s mortality rate from opioid overdoses was a highest-ever statistic which was directly linked to an increase of illicit fentanyl ravaging city streets. Fentanyl is now the leading cause of death among opioid addicts and the numbers continue to climb. Prescriptions for painkillers has been cracked down on in most states, causing the black-market supply to dry up. At the same time, less and less heroin is being found because fentanyl is a much cheaper alternative and widens the profit margin for drug dealers. Fentanyl is cheaper, stronger, and easier to attain than heroin or prescription drugs since all you need to buy it is a credit card and an internet connection.
A greater proportion of illicit fentanyl is being created in China and is then imported by street-level dealers and even drug cartels. Fentanyl sneaks by the thousands upon thousands of mail and packages coming and going on a daily basis.
The demand for fentanyl by drug users is higher than ever before because, these days, people want the strongest and cheapest high they can get. It doesn’t matter how many people die, how many people’s families are destroyed, or how many felonies a person racks up, they just need to make the pain go away at any cost. The fact remains that a lot of people actually want fentanyl, as ridiculous and crazy as that sounds. So far, it seems like a lot of effort has been put into shutting down the supply of fentanyl but what about handling the demand for it? Jailing and punishing drug users definitely isn’t the answer to handle the end-user because our prisons and detention centers are filled to the brim with inmates who, at the root of all their crimes, are simply addicted to drugs. Perhaps rehabilitating and helping a drug user would be a better option to getting the drug problem in the United States under control. In my opinion, that’s a way better solution than what we’re currently doing. With drug abuse and overdose numbers constantly on the rise, our current solution to drug addiction clearly isn’t working.