I know that this is when I would usually share my recap of last week but as I am currently sitting in a local coffee shop enjoying a lovely peppermint mocha, I don’t have any of my specs with me. On a plus, the wifi is SOOOOOOOOOOO much faster than at home so I was able to catch up in no time. And since this is the beginning of my billing cycle, I’m back up to full speed wifi at home so I should be able to stay up to date.
Last week I had the opportunity to attend a conference on Fentanyl. Likely you’ve heard about this drug already but maybe brushed it off since you’re not a drug addict, don’t know any drug addicts, so how can it affect you? Give me a moment to step onto my soap box here….it’s nice and steady because I might be here a while…Now let me begin:
I’m not a doctor and I do not have a strong background in chemistry. I’m not going to quote measurements and weights and stats and such but I want to make sure that I can explain to you why you SHOULD be worried. OK maybe not worried. Let’s go with aware of the issues around Fentanyl.
We tend to have this image of a drug user as the rail-thin person wandering aimlessly down the street begging for change so they can shuffle down an alley and shove a needle into their arm. And to a degree, that is true in some instances. But there are also the “normal” folks who go out once in a while and maybe grab a pill or two. Or the ones that get hooked on painkillers after injury or surgery or are dealing with chronic pain.
What makes Fentanyl so scary is that a tiny (and I do mean tiny) amount can be lethal depending on the strength. And when I say tiny, I’m talking an amount the size of a pinhead could possibly kill several people.
But again, you may be saying “I’m not sticking a needle in my arm so why should I care?” Well here’s the fun part: You don’t have to. It can be absorbed through the skin, mucous membranes, inhaled…It can come in a powder that resembles icing sugar. Imagine what happens when you spill some flour: it gets everywhere. Now granted, most people don’t walk around with high grade Fentanyl in their pocket but some might. Some folks rent out a house or a part of a house to process it. Or in an apartment building. Anyone in emergency services are at risk for contamination. Same thing with people who work in a hospital. If that’s not you, it may be a family member. And it could be innocent enough: reach into a pocket looking for a wallet and catch your hand in a plastic baggy that explodes into the air.
Counterfeit pills are being made so well that you may think you’re taking one thing but you’re not. So while someone thinks that they’re taking a pill but they hit a “hot spot”: an area of greater concentration and they overdose.
Some people will use old patches and because the patch is no longer at full strength, people may think that it’s “safer” and give it to someone to help their aches and pains.
Poor quality heroin is getting a boost with some Fentanyl. Word on the street is it’s a “bad batch”.
So let’s say you don’t know anyone that fits into that category. OK. How do you think people are financing their addiction? Hook, steal, or deal. They’ll sell their bodies. They’ll break into your car, break into your business, and break into your house to take whatever they can to sell. Or they’ll deal and feed more people’s addiction.
A little doom and gloom I know. I thought that this whole thing was being blown out of proportion until I went to this conference, that the media was grabbing onto something for shock value. But when you look at the grand scope of things, it can be quite scary. Then when you look at how quickly Fentanyl use is spreading, it’s incredible. There are people dropping all over the place. And even if they are “junkies” and you’re OK with writing them off so easily, they’re still someone’s family member.
Addiction is scary enough but think about how deep down that hole someone would have to be to know that what they are using could kill them. Immediately. Do not pass go do not collect $200.
I think that is enough for now. I’m going to step down for a little bit. I know this post is a little out of character compared to other posts but I felt I needed to say this. I welcome any feedback, positive or negative. If you think I’m still blowing things out of proportion, I can do a real post with real research and we can discuss things then.