A new synthetic drug is believed to be linked to several overdose deaths.
So far, acetyl fentanyl hasn’t been recognized in any local cases yet. But detectives are on the lookout.
The prescribed version of fentanyl is dangerous enough if used incorrectly. There have been local cases where young people ate fentanyl patches, which are meant to treat severe pain in cancer patients. The act resulted in death.
That’s why the idea of a synthetic version of the drug is so frightening.
Experts believe the drug is being produced in labs overseas, meaning no one knows what is in the drug, in what conditions it was created or how potent each dose could be. Reports show the drug is five times stronger than heroin. That means people who may be using the new synthetic who are more familiar with heroin could die after just one dose.
It’s believed that some are using, knowingly or not, the drug as a substitute for heroin or other opiod to get high.
In Haywood County, we have seen a significant decrease in the use of synthetic cannabinoids and bath salts that teens were purchasing legally at gas stations to get high. A crackdown from legislators and local law enforcement has helped address the issue.
As the chief toxicologist for the state medical examiner’s office pointed out, though, synthetics aren’t necessarily dying down. Instead, it’s become a fluid problem that changes from one drug to another.
We need to start educating our teens early to stay away from drugs now more than ever as the unknowns of synthetics continue to dominate the illicit drug marketplace.