Doctors Raise Red Flag! New Overdose Wave Fueled By Fentanyl Combining With Other Narcotics!

Doctors Raise Red Flag! New Overdose Wave Fueled By Fentanyl Combining With Other Narcotics!

Several drug abuse and addiction researchers, doctors, and public health officials are concerned about a growing trend among overdose victims that appears to indicate the onset of a new and different wave of the opioid epidemic, as evidenced by the spike in drug overdose deaths this year and last year.

While it seems loneliness and the obstacles of the coronavirus epidemic have fueled that drug usage, many experts believe that the combination of fentanyl and other narcotics has fueled the new overdose wave in part.


More than 100,000 people died from drug overdoses in the United States this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts believe this is part of a fourth wave of the overdose epidemic, in which an increasing number of drug users die with a combination of drugs in their systems.

It is believed that the 100,000 figure reflects a continuous increase in the number of cocaine, methamphetamine, and other drug fatalities that are linked to the concurrent use of fentanyl, according to the researchers.

As Dr. Robert Anderson, the National Center for Health Statistics’ head of mortality statistics, put it, “probably more than half of the cases have fentanyl coupled with another substance.” Anderson is the director of the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.

Using fentanyl in conjunction with other drugs separates this wave from those that came before it, which were marked by the increasing use of prescription pain medicines, followed by the growth of heroin and fentanyl on their own.

In fact, Dr. James Berry, head of addiction services at West Virginia University and chair of its behavioral medicine department, does not refer to it as a “opioid crisis.” According to the author, “I refer to it as an addiction pandemic” since the drug in question fluctuates and because there is often over one chemical in use.

The existence of a trend has been recognized, but the cause of the trend has not yet been determined: Is fentanyl and other narcotics being used deliberately by drug users, or does fentanyl find its way into the wider drug supply via traffickers and distributors?

Deputy health commissioner for alcohol and drug misuse programs Kelly Dougherty stated, “It’s possible that it’s occurring at any stage and at several places across the drug supply chain.” I’m afraid that some individuals are taking fentanyl because they want to, despite the hazards, and that others are doing it without realizing it. People are cutting it in, which makes it far more lethal.”

While Vermont is striving to make fentanyl test strips more widely available so that consumers can determine if their drugs have been tainted, Dougherty advises that users should expect that any illegal narcotics they purchase may include fentanyl more frequently than they should not.

The Biden administration announced it this year that state and local governments may utilize federal funding to acquire fentanyl test strips to stem the rising number of overdose fatalities.

Many specialists, on the other hand, feel that fentanyl is infiltrating the larger drug supply at the level of the distributor. Due to the fact that fentanyl is extremely inexpensive and offers a powerful high, distributors or dealers seem to be either cutting other drugs with it or accidentally contaminating their other products by utilizing dirty work surfaces, gloves, and equipment.

In certain cases, patients would intentionally combine cocaine and fentanyl, according to Berry, who provided examples of his patient contacts. “However, a lot of it is just because nearly anything you could imagine of is mixed with fentanyl on the streets today,” Berry said.

Except for a handful of stories and educated guesses, there is no solid evidence to explain why an increasing proportion of overdose victims had numerous substances in their systems when they die.

If purposeful co-administration of fentanyl caused most overdoses with other drugs or whether contamination or alteration is occurring at the dealer level remains unknown, according to Dr. Daniel Ciccarone, an addiction and drug researcher at the University of California, San Francisco. He said that the true explanation for the incident remained a “black box” that would only be revealed via additional investigation.

According to Ciccarone, who has written on the fourth wave of overdoses and is now embarking on a research to determine the causes behind the recent trend, “I believe the contamination idea is overstated and fear-based.” According to evidence from around the country — including two publications that have been published as well as data from my own study in regions such as West Virginia — the combination of methamphetamine or a high stimulant with a potent opiate is becoming more common.

“This is a significant and rapidly expanding phenomena,” he said. “It’s an important one that we shouldn’t disregard.”

Unfortunately, the issue has more than one manifestation.

fentanyl, according to Brendan Saloner, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health who specializes in drug addiction and treatment, is spreading throughout the nation and hurting areas that have not previously had to deal with the opioid problem, according to Saloner.

“It seems like a significant portion of the overdose risk has just transferred to areas of the nation that previously did not have as much vulnerability, and I believe that this is catching a lot of people by surprise right now,” Saloner said. “Certainly, in certain areas, particularly those west of the Mississippi, it seems to have become very worse in a short period of time.”


Beyond that, according to Saloner, state and local governments must work together to restore addiction treatment and outreach networks that were disrupted by the epidemic and are now being restored. He believes that the primary emphasis of current efforts should be on addiction treatment.

He said that the United States must broaden the range of people who get such services and work in places that are under-resourced in the fight against the opioid crisis.

“Settings such as hospital emergency rooms, where the vast majority of patients are unable to get treatment, as well as jails and prisons, need more attention,” he stated. “There are a lot of crises mechanisms in place right now that aren’t doing a very good job of assisting people.”





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