Jack Simpson

Jack Simpson

We are told that just one gram can kill. This makes Fentanyl a scary word. It is a synthetic substance one hundred times more powerful than heroin.

Fentanyl may be absorbed through the skin and need not be smoked, injected or snorted. First responders are often placed at risk because drugs they encounter on the street may contain Fentanyl unknown to the public.

Since it is a silent killer, Fentanyl is a highly addictive opioid and easily subject to abuse. Studies are currently underway to reduce its use.

Fentanyl is being smuggled into the United States from China, where much of it is manufactured, and it reaches our borders via Mexico. It is a great moneymaker for the drug cartels.

Fentanyl is much in the news lately because of the increase in overdose deaths. The drug is prescribed legally, but greater danger arises from its use in illegal drugs, blended without notification. Users may not realize they are taking it before harm is done.

Officials are trying to reduce Fentanyl use, but the task ahead seems overwhelming.

Fentanyl has street names like China Girl, Goodfellas, Tango and Cash. Some of these illegal drugs are made in the form of powder, or put in eye droppers and nasal sprays and even in pill form.

It is risky when people taking drugs are not aware they may contain an addictive form of Fentanyl. This opioid may quickly take over a person’s life. An overdose of Fentanyl can affect breathing and lead to a coma and brain damage, resulting in death. Any overdose should be referred quickly for medical attention. Addicts need to be monitored. Resulting health problems can be severe, as can be with withdrawal. Counseling and therapy, and change of behavior, may well result.

President Trump and his administration have made the opioid epidemic a priority. Laws are being enforced and the flow of these drugs from other nations more closely monitored. Prosecutions have risen and more funds are allocated to fight the problem.

Drugs like this one can create enforcement problems and danger for law enforcement officers. First responders are at high risk if they are exposed to Fentanyl in clandestine drug labs.

Jack Simpson is a former educator, a veteran, an author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each week in the weekend edition of this newspaper.

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