Category Archives: drugs

Parents: Know the Risks but not the Solutions?

Opioids have been a rising issue in the United States, and more recently the opioid overdoses have been acknowledged as an epidemic. Of these people who misuse or abuse opioids, 90% of them have noted that their addiction began in their teen years. As the issue is on the rise, there is a known risk, but what is being done about this risk?

Half of parents who were asked in a recent study stated that they were concerned that their children were at risk for addiction, and yet 66% of parents stated that opioids were the best pain management solution. Unfortunately, a lot of parents and nonparents believe that opioids are the best pain management, probably because of advertisements and the eagerness for doctors to prescribe them. As much as we know that opioids are a problem and create high risk for addiction, one 33% of parents who went to a doctor with their child asked about alternative pain management to opioids. The numbers just do not add up. Further, the major concern is that over the past two decades, opioid related deaths in adolescents has more than tripled.

The Risks:
• Opioids are extremely addictive. Overdose is the leading cause of death in adults under the age of 50 in the United States. More than 2 million Americans abuse or misuse opioids because they are extremely addictive.
• Parents are not monitoring their children. By being aware of how many pills your child has taken and when they are taking them, it allows you to know what the habits of your child are. With helpful monitoring, you are helping to limit the ability to misuse.
• Parents are not talking to their children’s doctors about alternatives. Doctors will prescribe opioids because they are the most commonly known prescription pain management and most commonly accepted. Without starting the conversation, doctors will rarely offer alternatives.
• Utilizing improper disposal or not disposing of medications. By keeping the leftover medications instead of disposing of them, it poses a major risk to misuse.

The Solutions:
• Alternating between over-the-counter medications. This is known to help alleviate pain, in some instances, even better than opiates.
• Utilizing heat and ice. Heat, ice, rest and elevation helps to increase blood flow and decrease inflammation, leading to a decrease in pain.
• Physical therapy and/or acupuncture. Physical therapy will increase range of motion that might be causing the problem, as well as increase strength. Acupuncture has also been a leading pain reliever with minimal side effects.
• Quicker disposal. See if your municipality has a prescription drop box. If they do not, then make sure to crush up leftover medications and mix them with something like used coffee grounds, or cat litter to discourage someone from using the medications or taking them out of the trash.

There are known risks to using opiates. It is important for parents to not only recognize these risks but also to intervene and alleviate the issue before it becomes a real issue. Though it is not always up to the parents, parents can ask their child’s doctors for alternatives to pain medications, whether it be holistic approaches or other non-opiate pain medications. Even by opening the conversation with the doctor, it will show your child that it is a good idea to ask questions and advocate for themselves.

Fentanyl Seize

Fentanyl has been a rising issue when it comes to drug use, abuse, and deaths. Fentanyl is a very cheap but powerful drug that get cuts into many other drugs so that dealers can sell more, for a lower cost, increasing profit. Fentanyl is 50x stronger than heroin, which is what fentanyl is often cut with. Fentanyl is so lethal that just a few grains can cause an overdose or a death. Even though fentanyl is cut with heroin, generally, it has been found in most drugs, from marijuana, to cocaine, to heroin.

Recently,  a State Trooper in Nebraska pulled over a vehicle containing 54 kilograms of fentanyl, which is enough to kill 25 million people. The two men driving the vehicle were New Jersey residents. Use of fentanyl in drugs had gone up by over 50% between 2016 and 2017, and is predicted to go up, even more. Though it is in the works to have an antidote made for fentanyl, there is nothing yet. Narcan can assist with heroin and opiates, but it takes a lot more narcan to reverse the effects of fentanyl and only lasts for a shorter period of time.

Opioids and Morris County

Since January of 2018, arrests have gone up for drug dealers and users. But, along with this rise, there has also been a rise in both fatal and non-fatal overdoses. When viewing a map, and the data, it is clear that these arrests and overdoses are not people who are travelling through Morris County, but rather residents of Morris County. There has been not a single community without an overdose in 2018. All communities are effected, regardless of socioeconomic status, race, gender, or religion. When looking at the projected outcomes, it seems as though opioid related deaths in Morris County will surpass last years number of 80 deaths.

Morris County is often thought of as being an upper middle class community, and people overlook the possibilities of drug use or abuse in this community but it is clear that we need to be safer and proactive on this issue. Opioids do not discriminate, addiction does not discriminate. Be aware, be proactive.

Opioid Use in Morris County

In 2015, roughly 2% of heroin contained fentanyl in it, whereas now, 40% of heroin has fentanyl in it. Fentanyl is a deadly chemical that produces a high for significantly cheaper than heroin, which is why drug dealers tend to cut heroin with this chemical. For reference, one kilo of heroin would cost $60,000, but a kilo of fentanyl is only $3,000. This chemical is dangerous because it is very strong, in fact, 44% of ODs in Morris County had fentanyl in their drugs. It does not take much to be deadly, and when buying heroin, there is no known amount of fentanyl in it, nor would a dealer ever tell their secrets. Not only is fentanyl found in heroin, but it starting to be found in other drugs, like cocaine and marijuana. Fentanyl is also being pressed to look like pills.

Fentanyl is a profit making chemical, that due to the price, is becoming more and more common. As opioid use increases, so will the use of fentanyl. Drug dealers are not looking for what is the safest, only for what will produce the most amount of profit. Acknowledging the increase risk of fentanyl and understanding its potency is important for keeping yourself and your loved ones safe.