Fentanyl, America's Opioid Crisis

26 July 2017
Fentanyl, America's Opioid Crisis

New reports show that deaths related to pain-relieving opioid drugs both including prescription painkillers, OxyContin and heroin, have nearly quadrupled over a two-year period. According to The Economist, these figures have seen new born babies with withdrawal symptoms increase by 300% since 1999, in certain US states. Daily 91 Americans die from an opioid related overdose, resulting in roadside billboards advising the public on what to do in the case of a drug overdose.

It is believed that the epidemic stems from over-prescribed legal painkillers. The report goes on to state that in 2015 alone, 650,000 prescriptions were handed out daily. This resulted in many addicts turning to illicit substances such as fentanyl, when their prescriptions ran out. With new drugs emerging on to the market weekly, Randox Toxicology use significant research and development to stay ahead of the market. Our latest New Psychoactive Substances II panel can detect up to 5 compounds of fentanyl including, Carfentanil, Norfentanyl, Remifentanil, Sufentanyl and Ocfentanil.

Monthly Fentanyl overdose deaths in the US
Interestingly the article mentioned that due to the high overdose figures, attorney-general Jeff Sessions, opposed the legalisation of cannabis and sought to reduce punishment for non-violent drug related crimes by instructing prosecutors to pursue the most serious, readily provable offences. To restrict synthetics, the Chinese government agreed to make four variants of fentanyl illegal, after pressure from America and the UN in March 2017.

The opioid crisis is now too advanced for criminalisation to work as a deterrent, with America having at least two million opioid addicts. Recently however, the House of Representatives passed a health-care bill that will reduce spending and access to medicines. An iron law of the drugs market would only create demand and in turn supply.

With only 2mg able to cause an overdose, Fentanyl is easily hidden and transported in small packages through the post. Costing around $4,000 to buy 1kg from China, Fentanyl can generate a profit of $1.6 million on the streets. This is compared to 1kg of heroin which costs around $6,000 and only yields a profit of a few hundred thousand dollars.

Using Randox Toxicology’s patented Biochip Array Technology, which boasts cutting-edge multiplex testing capabilities, we can rapidly and accurately detect these drugs from a single sample. In addition, our highly sensitive ELISA kits provide rapid detection of drugs and metabolites in various biological specimens. With an ever expanding test menu, our ELISAs offer excellent cross-reactivity and unrivalled limits of detection, providing excellent correlation with confirmatory method results.  

If you would like to find out more information email us info@randoxtoxicology.com or call us:

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