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over-the-counter drugs

Just how dangerous is fentanyl? The synthetic opioid painkiller that’s usually mixed into heroin is turning up almost everywhere. Fentanyl is so dangerous that the Drug Enforcement Agency has issued a formal warning to law enforcement and paramedic first responders to be super-careful when…

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The DEA warning guide

The DEA Warning Guide is a comprehensive and highly-technical 19-page report that also includes the history and development of fentanyl and its derivatives such as carfentanil – often called “elephant tranquilizer” in the media and its role in today’s opioid epidemic.

The guide cautions first responders to get educated about fentanyl and its many derivatives, and trained to recognize the drug when they see it. The DEA says that to be properly protected from any contact with the drug, first responders should at least use the basics – gloves, dust masks, safety glasses and disposable paper suits and shoe covers.

Entering a lab or “pill-milling” location is another story altogether, and requires full HAZMAT protective gear – and immediate notifications to the building’s owners and occupants.

The agency also says that first responders should always have a supply of the opioid overdose antidote naloxone with them. Fentanyl can bring on an overdose so quickly and unexpectedly that naloxone – and several doses of it – should be close at hand.

The DEA has also released Fentanyl Roll Call, a video for all law enforcement and first responders nationwide, about the deadly consequences of improperly handling fentanyl.

Not news to the feds

The fentanyl problem is not so new to the DEA. Following a surge in its use in 2013, the DEA formed a Heroin-Fentanyl Task Force (HFTF) in 2014 to address what was becoming a serious national health problem.

The HFTF involves at least six government agencies, all working together to facilitate what is called “a whole of government approach” to the fentanyl and synthetic opioid epidemic in the United States.

The HFTF currently includes people from the DEA, Homeland Security (HIS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the FBI, the IRS and even the Post Office Inspection Service – this last agency because most synthetic opioids have been arriving in North America from China by mail.

China agrees to crack down on fentanyl

During the 1st quarter of 2017, the DEA ID’d 230 fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances in seized drugs. Fentanyl was found in combination with heroin in 61 percent of the samples, as well as with U-47700, alprazolam, ketamine and cocaine in other samples.

Most of this fentanyl comes from China or Mexico – highly refined from China, not so refined from Mexico. As we reported in April, China has agreed to crack down on fentanyl and other synthetic drugs.

Brand-name look-alikes

Although it’s usually a chunky or powdered substance, Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are turning up as pills or capsules that look like OxyContin (oxycodone), Xanax (alprazolam) and other diverted pharmaceuticals. The dangers are the same as when mixed into heroin.

The DEA says criminals love fentanyl-type drugs because they’re so cheap and they boost the effect of other drugs when mixed into them.

“Due to the elevated potency of fentanyl over traditional opioid drugs (i.e., heroin), criminal organizations can use one kilogram of fentanyl to produce approximately 1 million 1-milligram counterfeit pills, resulting in potentially 10-to-20 million dollars in revenue,” the DEA says. “There are also reports that consumers in some areas are seeking fentanyl over heroin, as the ‘rush’ is greater.”

DEA Guidelines will save lives

The rush may be greater, but overdose deaths involving fentanyl are soaring and the drug is definitely threatening our first responders.

We recently read about a policemen who returned to the station after a drug bust, noticed a speck of white on his shirt, brushed it off and fell immediately into an overdose. The speck turned out to be fentanyl. Fortunately, fellow officers saved his life with naloxone. There have been numerous similar reports recently.

The new DEA fentanyl safety guidelines will help protect our first responders in the field. And we hope our report will help protect you. If you or anyone you care about needs help with opioid use or misuse, call Novus Detox today.

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‘The poor man’s methadone’ More and more opioid addicts these days are turning to a common type of over-the-counter (OTC) anti-diarrhea drug to help stave off withdrawal symptoms, or just to get high. Why anti-diarrhea drugs? The common active ingredient in Imodium A-D, Ultra A-D oral,…

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Novus is the best way to get your life back as painlessly as possible.

Call to speak to one of our experienced & caring detox advisors today!

It’s okay to share your Tylenol or Advil with a friend or family member, but it’s definitely not okay to share your Vicodin, Percocet or OxyContin or other extra painkillers. Tylenols are OTC – over-the-counter drugs – and they’re approved for everyone. But opioids like OxyContin are…

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Comprehensive recommendations for both state and federal officials will help address the growing problem of drugs and driving, from understanding what's actually happening in America, to driver testing, legal, prosecutorial and prevention issues.   The number of people driving while…

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new anti-abuse hydrocodone extended-release painkiller from Purdue Pharma called Hysingla ER (ER is for Extended Release) made with “abuse-deterrent” technology that discourages chewing, crushing, snorting or injecting. The new hydrocodone…

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Novus is the best way to get your life back as painlessly as possible.

Call to speak to one of our experienced & caring detox advisors today!

In spite of the fact that drugs are tearing at the fabric of our communities like never before, it’s unusual when ordinary citizens take part in a public campaign to offer positive, helpful ideas to deal with it. In fact, we usually hear a lot of negativity, blame and finger-pointing rather than…

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New data from Canada suggests that dentists are playing a pretty big part in the prescription opioid addiction crisis in Canada, and possibly here in the U.S. too. A recent study of opioid prescriptions in Canada’s province of Ontario has found that dentists prescribe as many as 40 percent of…

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Novus is the best way to get your life back as painlessly as possible.

Call to speak to one of our experienced & caring detox advisors today!

A lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says an unconstitutional Massachusetts statute is allowing hundreds of women to be treated like criminals because they are addicted to drugs or alcohol, not because they have committed any crime, or even been charged with one. The ACLU has…

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Millions of Americans, when facing depression or even just anxiety, turn to powerful psychiatric drugs marketed by pharmaceutical giants, whose ads gloss over the risks in fast-talking fine print. A counter-movement warning of the dangers from an over-prescribed society is emerging. — Gary G.…

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