The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is maintaining strict vigilance on the multiple ports of entry along the southwestern border for signs of a new synthetic drug that’s being pushed into the United States by Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs). The deadly drug – fake oxycodone laced with fentanyl — has already claimed dozens of victims in Arizona and now it is targeting newer victims in cities such as Albuquerque in New Mexico. Last year, several drug smugglers were detained at the California-Mexico border with counterfeit oxycodone pills, which is a sure sign that Mexican drug cartels are targeting pain patients in America.
“About 20 individuals have tested positive for a drug called blue,” said a physician with a recovery center in Albuquerque. The doctor believes it is a man-made cartel-driven drug which is being pushed into American territory. According to the DEA, the fake oxycodone pills are laced with fentanyl, a powerful opioid that maybe even 100 times deadlier than morphine. Most people are unfortunately purchasing these counterfeit medications assuming them to be the original ones. Moreover, experts doubt the purity of these counterfeit pills as they lack consistency in terms of potency.
Speaking about the gravity of the situation, DEA officials say that in the last 18 months, Arizona has witnessed more than 30 cases of overdose-related deaths attributed to fake oxycodone. While the drug silently makes inroads in New Mexico, it’s simply a matter of time until Albuquerque begins to see a host of deadly consequences.
Opioid overdoses are a reality in almost all the U.S. states, which share their borders with Mexico. In California, it’s happening not only along the borders and crime-ridden alleyways, but also in every nook and cranny of concrete high-rises and bustling metropolises across the state. Just like their fellow countrymen in other parts of the country, Californians are witnessing a sharp spike in the number of overdose-related visits to the emergency rooms statewide.
California Department of Public Health (CDPH) data indicates that prescription opioid-related emergency department visits in the state showed a dramatic 103 percent increase from 5,753 cases in 2006 to 11,683 in 2014, which is indeed alarming.
Oxycodone is a dangerous drug
Oxycodone is an opioid pain medication that helps treat moderate to severe pain. Its extended-release form helps provide around-the-clock treatment for pain. When taken as prescribed, oxycodone can bring about pain relief, cause euphoria, reduce anxiety and lead to extreme relaxation. Misuse of the drug can lead to overdose, addiction and even death.
Oxycodone is available in a pill and liquid form, and is often prescribed in combination with other drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen. Classified as a Schedule II drug by the Controlled Substances Act, oxycodone has a high potential for abuse and may lead to severe psychological and physical dependence. Some of the common side effects of oxycodone are:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Chills and fever
Commonly supplied under the brand names Percocet and OxyContin, the drug acts by changing the way the brain responds to pain. As oxycodone produces pleasurable sensations in the brain, it has a high potential for abuse. When used recreationally, there is a chance of overdose as recreational methods of consuming it often leads to absorption of a large amount of drug.
The long-term use of oxycodone can have serious psychological and physiological effects. Known to be associated with liver and kidney failure, oxycodone use can cause a reduction in brain’s ability to adapt to new input which may cause a compulsive behavior. When used in combination with alcohol, the drug can cause severe respiratory problems and may lead to an overdose.
Prescription opioids are wreaking havoc in American society
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that doctors writing millions of prescriptions for opioid painkillers has fueled the epidemic ravaging the nation. In fact, nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths in the country involve a prescription opioid. In 2015 alone, more than 15,000 people lost their lives due to overdoses involving prescription opioids. No wonder, popping pills has become a daily ritual for most Americans.
Studies show that painkillers have claimed more lives than heroin and cocaine combined. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), nearly 2 million Americans are dependent on or abuse opioid painkillers and about 46 painkiller-involved deaths occur every day in the country. Furthermore, individuals who abuse prescription painkillers are also vulnerable to getting addicted to heroin due to the chemically identical structures and similar effects of the two drugs.
Teenagers are highly susceptible to prescription drug abuse as such painkillers are readily available in their own homes or homes of relatives and friends. Besides, it is not a cumbersome task to divert pills from someone with a legitimate medical prescription. Additionally, the common perception that prescription painkillers are safe as they are prescribed by doctors is one of the major reasons for the widespread abuse of opioids.
Another major reason why most Americans are unaware about the dangers of prescription drugs is an inherent misapprehension about the drug testing and approval procedures. Many are led into a false sense of belief that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a rigorous testing and evaluation mechanism in place. This is actually far from the truth as the current system shrugs the entire onus of clinical trials and safety testing of a new drug on the pharmaceutical company that develops the drug.
Journey to recovery
Addiction to prescription drugs can be treated with timely medical intervention. Sovereign Health understands the plight of someone who is unable to discontinue the use of harmful opioids. Our customized substance use disorder programs are tailored to individual needs in order to treat the person holistically. Sovereign Health of San Clemente’s pain program is designed to assist those individuals whose pain has led to an addiction of either prescription and/or illegal drugs.
If you or your loved one is battling addiction to any prescription drug, get in touch with Sovereign Health to gain access to the latest and innovative treatment methods at our state-of-the-art drug addiction treatment centers spread across the U.S. Whether you are looking for substance abuse treatment centers in California or at a place closer home, call at our 24/7 helpline number (866) 819-0427 or chat online to know about the most effective recovery programs at our reliable drug addiction detox centers.