According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, more than 70,237 Americans died in 2017 from drug overdoses. Of those individuals that died from a drug overdose, 47,600 of them or approximately 68%, died with opioids in their systems. Opioid overdoses can occur from prescription opioids, like hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine or illegal opioids, like heroin and fentanyl. An opioid overdose occurs when too much of the drug is taken. The drug then overwhelms the individual’s brain and interrupts the body’s natural drive to breathe.
Symptoms of an Opioid Overdose Include:
- Small constricted “pinpoint pupils”
- Falling asleep or loss of consciousness
- Slow, shallow breathing
- Choking or gurgling sounds
- Limp body
- Pale, blue, or cold skin
Unlike other prescription opioids like Percocet and Narco which are generally used in an outpatient setting, Fentanyl, which is an opioid mainly used in hospital settings to treat severe pain in the end of life illnesses, has become a cause for concern among US communities and health care organizations. Fentanyl could probably be considered the most powerful opioid in medicine today and has a high potential for abuse that can result in severe psychological or physical dependence. The addictive properties of synthetic fentanyl are 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than many forms of heroin.
But Fentanyl not only causes dependence, now there is there is the issue of accidental exposure to this strong substance. In fact, first responders, healthcare workers, crime investigators, and hazardous materials response teams, as well as the general public can unknowingly inhale fentanyl from objects that are laced with this opioid. Sadly, fentanyl is fueling the opioid epidemic with devastating consequences for the average American.
So how do we stop this deadly drug from unleashing havoc on our local communities? Well, countries around the world, including the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Spain, have developed programs with government funding where drug users can take their illegal drugs to be tested for contamination and flag dangerously strong doses. Similarly, in the United States, the California Department of Public Health started providing fentanyl testing strips to harm reduction centers in May of 2017 in hopes to reduce the number of deaths caused by fentanyl. By providing testing strips and easy access to drug testing clinics, it is hoped that drug overdose deaths will begin to decrease.
If someone you know begins to show signs of an opioid overdose, it is imperative to seek medical care immediately. Your fast response time may be the difference between life and death for that person.
Contact Mednovations for a Urine Drug Test Today
Although total prevention will most likely never occur each life saved by some type of positive change is considered a win. Testing for fentanyl and other opioids can easily be done by a urine drug test. If you live in the Washington DC metro area, consider Mednovations for reliable, accurate, confidential, and efficient urine drug test services and more. Contact us today for more information or schedule an appointment online.