Written by Andrew Morris
“The time to ramp up the effort is now, I’ve always felt if people knew better, they would do better.”
This quote comes from Jim Desmond in his proposal to the Board of Supervisors for a fentanyl awareness campaign throughout San Diego, in light of the numerous deaths by overdose of the drug this year.
These staunch increases amount to more than 450 accidental fentanyl deaths in 2020, a growth of more than 200% since 2019. Furthermore, county reports state 413 overdose deaths this year alone through June. Based on these numbers, the total fentanyl related death toll could reach 800 by the end of the year.
In response to this, Jim Desmond, along with District Attorney Summer Stephan, have devised a plan with unanimous Board of Supervisor support to raise awareness for the drug and its catastrophic effects.
The new “hyper drug” fentanyl is considered to be 50 times stronger than heroin, and estimated to be 100 times stronger than morphine. This means even a miniscule amount of the drug on common prescriptions such as Xanax and Adderall could potentially be lethal.
While law enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) are working to track down the suppliers of these drugs, Desmond seeks to educate people on the danger of acquiring drugs from locations other than pharmacies.
DEA investigations state the contaminated drugs are being sourced from China or Mexico, where drug codes are less strict if not completely unchecked. Going as far as saying two out of every five pills seized from shady suppliers have a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl. Perhaps the scariest part of the epidemic is it can kill anyone regardless of health or history with drugs.
According to Allen Johnston, who lost her 23-year-old daughter on New Year’s Day, “She had no idea” fentanyl had been in the pills she purchased. “I think the majority of the kids buying these things have no idea. They are buying Vicodin and Oxycodone and Percocet — and that’s what they think they are. They think they are getting the things they had been prescribed in the past.”
On another side of things, the fear of acquiring drugs from unapproved sources will result in more consumption of over the table drugs produced at premium prices from big pharmaceutical companies. For many people, the constant need for overpriced prescription drugs is a medical expense that pushes them over their cost of living on an already tight budget.
Furthermore, the terrorist potential of fentanyl could prove to be a roadblock which topples the already shaky nation with the Biden Administration running it into the ground. Especially if the epidemic comes as a probe from China or foreign countries to test America’s resilience to current threats.
As of now, fentanyl appears to be a simple mistake with disastrous effects, but its potential could prove sinister in the coming months and years.
Photo Cred: Jaime Scott Lytle/ VOSD