NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla., March 10, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- U.S. law enforcement and federal agencies alike have increasingly focused their attention on tackling the rise of drug addiction, but their efforts are being undermined by a dangerous new breed of heroin that allows users to achieve a much cheaper, faster high: heroin laced with the powerful painkiller fentanyl is cropping up throughout the U.S. and claiming lives, prompting Florida medical detox center Novus Medical Detox to push for increased public education about the potentially lethal consequences of fentanyl.
Fentanyl, an opiate that is generally used intravenously in hospitals to treat pain, is being added to heroin to create a stronger high; the laced heroin is now suspected in at least 50 recent fatal overdoses in three states:
● In Pennsylvania, at least 17 fatal overdoses in January were suspected to have been caused by the dangerous heroin blend;
● In Maryland, at least 37 deaths, dating from last September, were linked to the drug; and
● The town of Flint, Michigan, has had four recent overdoses where fentanyl-laced heroin is suspected (1).
The last fentanyl-heroin outbreak killed hundreds in 2006 (2), and a recent analysis of evidence from the scenes in Pittsburgh shows that the bags of laced heroin were comprised of about 50 percent fentanyl, which medical experts say is 10 to 100 times stronger than morphine (3).
According to Novus Executive Director Kent Runyon, the return of the heroin epidemic is largely due to the crackdown on illegal "pill mills," which severely restricted access to prescription drugs—an action that resulted in struggling addicts turning to the widely-available heroin as a replacement.
"When an addict loses access to their drug of choice, they don't lose their desire to use, so they begin looking for other avenues to achieve the high; and unfortunately, heroin is a cheap, readily available substance," said Runyon. "Heroin offers a similar high to that of prescription drugs, and when combined with fentanyl, the effects are swift and powerful—even a small quantity can result in an overdose, as evidenced by the high number of deaths in recent months."
Runyon encourages addicted individuals to heed warnings about the dangers of the additive. In addition, per Runyon, not only are safe and effective detox centers critical in ending the drug abuse epidemic, they are the best option for anyone struggling with addiction—particularly heroin addiction, as the withdrawal process is so painful that its abusers often avoid detox and rehab at all costs, with many continuing their drug use even though they desire to live a sober life.
"For most, the hardest part of recovery is the withdrawal process—the symptoms are heavy enough to discourage users from even attempting to achieve long-term sobriety," said Runyon. "And that is where effective detox facilities come in—addicted individuals need the help of professionals who can safely and comfortably assist them through the process."
Novus opened its doors with the purpose to fix the detox process to ensure that anyone could overcome prescription drug addiction comfortably. The detox center handles the toughest of drug and alcohol cases, many that are rejected from other facilities as "too high a risk."
Runyon advises those who are dependent on any abusive substance(s) to seek out safe, medically-supervised detox programs, and to use those with integrated medicine that allows the detox process to be as comfortable as possible.
About Novus Medical Detox Center:
Novus Medical Detox Center offers safe, effective alcohol and drug treatment programs in a home-like residential setting. Located on 3.25 tree-lined acres in New Port Richey, Fla., Novus is licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families as an inpatient medical detox facility. Novus is known for minimizing the discomfort of withdrawal from prescription medication, drugs or alcohol by creating a customized detox program for each patient, incorporating medication, natural supplements and fluid replenishment—putting the dignity and humanity back into drug detoxification. Patients have 24/7 medical supervision, including round-the-clock nursing care and access to a withdrawal specialist, and enjoy comfortable private or shared rooms with a telephone, television, DVD player and high-speed Internet access. For more information, visit www.novusdetox.com.
1. Mohney, Gillian. "Fatal Overdoses in Multiple States Show Dangers of Fentanyl-Laced Heroin." Abcnews.go.com. ABC, 5 Feb. 2014. Web. 25 Feb. 2014. abcnews.go.com/Health/dangers-fentanyl-laced-heroin/story?id=22374848.
2. "Heroin Laced With Powerful Prescription Drug Fentanyl Causing Fatal Overdoses." Fox News. N.p., 16 Feb. 2014. Web. 25 Feb. 2014. foxnews.com/us/2014/02/16/heroin-laced-with-powerful-prescription-drug-fentanyl-causing-fatal-overdoses/.
3. Flores, Rosa. "Heroin Laced with Painkiller Fentanyl Takes Toll in Pennsylvania." cnn.com. Cable News Network, 01 Feb. 2014. Web. 25 Feb. 2014. cnn.com/2014/01/30/justice/pennsylvania-heroin-deaths/.
Karla Jo Helms
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SOURCE Novus Medical Detox Center