New Synthetic Drug U-47700 Under Scrutiny for Deaths Across the U.S.

 Designer Drugs  Comments Off on New Synthetic Drug U-47700 Under Scrutiny for Deaths Across the U.S.
Feb 102017


A highly potent, new synthetic drug has been added to the list of Schedule I drugs, after cases of deaths related from an overdose from using it were reported from different states in the U.S. This is an opioid analgesic known as U-47700. Developed in the 1970s by the pharmaceutical firm, The Upjohn Company, U-4 has a street name of “Pink” or “Pinkie.

This chemical substance was all over the headlines in the past months for the series of deaths from across the country, including the states of Utah, Mississippi and Michigan. As a result, around twelve states have requested for a ban of the drug.

In September last year, two 13-year old boys from the town of Park City, Utah, died after taking the drug. According to Wade Carpenter, Park City Police Chief, the cause of death of the two teenagers was acute intoxication of the U-47700 drug. This was derived from the results gathered from the medical examiner of the Utah Office.

The parents of the victims were clueless at first because not much evidence surfaced. But further down on the investigation, authorities were able access the social media accounts of the teens and discovered about the drug. It was later found out that it came from one of classmates of the teenagers who ordered it online.

It is said that some teenagers in the community ordered the drug from China and was shipped to the U.S. After a group of teenagers were questioned as part of the investigation, one teenager was charged with reckless endangerment and distribution of a controlled substance.


U-47700 Background

Created by Upjohn, the U-47700 was patented by Jacob Szmuszkivicz, a chemist, in1976. The drug was first tested on animals and it was concluded that the potency of the opioid substance was higher than morphine, albeit, it is less addictive. Originally created to be used to alleviate pain in cancer patients, injury and cancer, the drug was never tested on human beings. While it was not made available to the public, the research continued and medical journals about it were published. These journals became the basis of some drug laboratories in China and other locations for making the recreational drug with the streetname, “Pink”. This was because the journals included information on how to make the drug.

This research chemical has become a popular recreational drug because it can easily be purchased online and is relatively cheap, selling for only $30 a gram. Manufacturers are also able to get away with it because they have learned to adjust the composition of the drug that it does not match the scheduled substance.

Reported to be seven-and-a-half times more fatal than morphine, this opioid can cause respiratory distress and later, death. One person who admitted having tried U4 said that the drug gives a feeling of relaxation and laziness. But experts also warned that the potency of the substance is based on the exact measurements stated in the patent and that other manufacturers do not follow the dosage, thus, users end up coming up with a more fatal substance.

Although it is now in the Schedule I Drugs List, it is too early to consider this new recreational drug as illegal. Meanwhile, U-47700 was also said to have been found, along with Fentanyl as one of the drugs in the estate of icon singer, Prince, who died from drug overdose.




 Posted by at 10:39 am

Increase in Number of Prescription Opioid Poisonings in Children

 Opioid Addiction  Comments Off on Increase in Number of Prescription Opioid Poisonings in Children
Jan 032017

A study was conducted about opioid poisoning and the results found an increase in the number of young children and teenagers being victims of ingesting these painkiller drugs that were supposedly for the medication of other members of the family.

This was revealed by head of the study, postdoctoral fellow, Julie Gaither, from Yale School of Public Health. She said that with the enormous number of opioids in households, these children gain access to these prescription medicines.

The mortality rate of children with opioid poisoning-related deaths in the last six years, from 1997 to 2012 was high with 176 deaths while the incidence increased to 165%. This information was gathered from the available data recorded until 2012 which means that for the last four years, the trends in terms of awareness and the prescription of opioids are not available.

To conduct the study, more than 13,000 records from hospital discharges and census date covering the six years were examined to extrapolate rates and the study was then published in JAMA Pediatrics. Conversely, in relation to drug abuse and addiction in adults, the rates are still high although findings show a decrease in the trend.

In the study, researchers also posit that the number of teenagers at risk for opioid overdose, deliberately or otherwise are also increasing since this age group are high risks for suicide and depression, with around 10 out of 100,000 teenagers treated for drug-related poisoning in 2012.

It also found evidence that teenagers may also be leaning towards taking heroin since drug regulations have made it difficult to get prescriptions for opiates with heroin-related hospital cases from aged 15 to 19 increasing by 161%.

As for hospitalized toddlers with opioid-poisoning cases, the rates have also increased from 0.86 to 2.62 for every 100,000 children. This was attributed to the fact that most of these kids thought these drugs were candies.

Gaither recommends that medical practitioners should educate patients on proper storage of drugs. Moreover, she and her co-authors mentioned that this suggestion should coincide with addressing the problem of over-prescription of drugs.

The study also came up with findings that doctors prescribing drugs to children, particularly adults, should be more careful about this practice since there have been reports of high school students who deliberately took opioids prescribed to them for no medical reason at all. Also, the American Academy of Pediatrics noted the increase in the number of young patients being prescribed with painkillers in the 1990s and 2000s.

However, Stanford Medicine physician, Jonathan Chen, thinks otherwise. According to him, asking doctors to teach patients about drug storage in the home might not be possible since these doctors already have a lot of issues to discuss with their patients and should not be expected to always be able to consider the possibility of drugs lying around the house and be taken by other family members. Chen said that while the idea is theoretically good, this might not be possible to be carried out.

For Dr. Julie Gaither, however, it is still crucial for doctors to take children into consideration and the toll opioid-poisoning related to prescription drugs has on their health.


 Posted by at 4:48 pm

Carfentanil Has Been Unleashed

 Opioid Addiction  Comments Off on Carfentanil Has Been Unleashed
Oct 262016

A couple of months ago, the powerful sedative, Carfentanil, was all over the Internet. The powerful drug was being linked to the numerous deaths from overdose in the Midwest. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has declared that this is the most potent opioid sold commercially on a global scale.

This synthetic opioid is considered 10,000 more potent than morphine, 50 times deadlier than heroin and 100 times stronger than the prescription painkiller, Fentanyl, which took the life of popular singer Prince this year.

Back in August, there were at least 92 cases of drug overdose in Cincinnati and it was believed that these were not only due to heroin but also to the deadly drug, Carfentanil. According to reports, drug dealers deliberately combine the drug with heroin or make them into pills. These drugs, in turn, are sold to buyers without disclosing the presence of the synthetic opioid.

Head of the Hamilton County Heroin Coalition Task Force in this part of Ohio, Police Chief Tom Synan of Newton, reported that the commercial opioid made its way to the county in July and the officers who responded to the calls were swarmed with cases. He said that calls were continuous and that in one shift, 14 cases came from just one district. The mere touch or inhalation of the opioid is so deadly that health practitioners who attended to the patients in emergency rooms as well as the first responders had to wear gloves and masks.

According to Synan, what used to be four to five overdose cases in a day grew to 20 to 50 overdoses. It was only a few years back when drug traffickers replaced heroin and other street drugs with Fentanyl.



How strong is Carfentanil?

This dangerous drug is not fit for human consumption and is only used in animals for sedation. These large animals include buffalos, moose and elephants. If two milligrams of the opioid is administered to a 2,000-pound African elephant, this small amount can totally knock the animal down. In regard to people, a dose of this drug which is as small as a grain of salt can kill a human being.  A failed hostage rescue operation in Moscow was a proof of this. This was after more than 100 hostages died after Russian Special Forces team sprayed a chemical aerosol in a theater. It was revealed that the chemical had Carfentanil as one of the components.

The drug used to reverse the effects of opioids, Naloxone, is also used to save a person who overdoses from it. Tim Ingram, the commissioner of Hamilton County Health, also said that while it takes a longer time for a person who took the opioid to metabolize the drug in the body, this results to getting high for a longer time. Sadly, it also makes it harder for health practitioners to revive a person who gets overdosed.

Spokesman for the DEA, Russ Baer, says that Carfentanil is sold online and comes from China or is distributed by drug traffickers from Mexico. Meanwhile, Ingram expressed that there should be tougher penalties in selling Carfentanil. With the current policy about drugs, selling them in the street is not considered a violent crime.




 Posted by at 1:58 pm

Drug Addicted Newborns

 Drug Addiction  Comments Off on Drug Addicted Newborns
Sep 072016

Among the many issues regarding the rising drug abuse problems in the US, neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) has been one that has been making headlines today. As described by medical experts, NAS is a cluster of symptoms a newly born baby shows from withdrawing from drugs the mother used during pregnancy. In Tennessee, there seems to be an epidemic of this condition, as a substantial number of newborns have become tangled in the complex web of opioid addiction. According to recent official data, already 485 newborns in the state have been diagnosed with NAS this year.


Neonatal specialist at Niswonger Children’s Hospital, Dr. Des Bharti, said that infants who are born with NAS could also be addicted to certain drugs, ranging from anti-depressants to narcotics, and the condition is sometimes difficult to treat after birth. These babies are then admitted to a hospital and would typically stay there for as long as 3 weeks, where treatment can cost more than $45,000 per child.

Commenting on this, Bharti said, “Our basic idea of admitting them to the hospital here is to treat them with the medication or without medication and make sure they are comfortable and stable at the time of discharge. When we do treat them with drugs, our idea is to bring them to a state where they can be managed at home.” However, it is important to note that some cases are more difficult to treat than others.

The number of infants born with NAS in Tennessee has increased eleven folds since 1999, according to reports, ranking the state as having the highest percentage of NAS births in the country. Now, efforts have been made to address the issue, with medical professionals, like the Sullivan County Health Department health nurse Joy McLain, stating that the task is not easy.

As you can see, Sullivan County is one of the most heavily affected areas in the state. McLain stated that the medical community has been doing their best to fight the growing epidemic in the area over the last 2 years, with the health department helping the community through schools, churches, anti-drug coalition programs and methadone clinics to educate women about pregnancy and NAS. Now, such efforts seemed to have paid up, with recent data showing the epidemic growth rate to be slowing down from last year.

McLain added that a big contributor to the epidemic is the culture and belief that “everything can be fixed with a pill”. While changing culture is no easy feat, she is hopeful that the continuous efforts to fight addiction, combined with proper communication and communal understanding of the problem, will see even better results in the next few years. She said, “Addiction is one thing that isn’t picky about who it chooses. It crosses all socioeconomic barriers, so it’s something that we all have to participate in the discussion.”

It is important to note that communication with health professionals will be the key in helping pregnant women struggling with substance abuse deal with their problem and in fighting NAS.




 Posted by at 9:57 am

First Implant for Opioid Addiction

 Opioid Addiction  Comments Off on First Implant for Opioid Addiction
Aug 042016

A development in the drive to battle addiction to opioids recently came up. The Food and Drug Administration had already given its approval on what can be considered a breakthrough in medicine – the first implant treatment for opioid dependence. This is what is referred to as the Probuphine device.

Although there are already available medicines that will reduce the symptoms of opioid withdrawal, this implant is the first of its kind. Probuphine has already been in existence for more than a decade. For 14 years, patients have been taking this prescribed medicine orally and Probuphine has been an effective drug to manage withdrawal symptoms of heroin and painkiller addicts.

This subdermal implant will be marketed in the United States by Braeburn Pharmaceuticals and will need to be done by trained healthcare providers, particularly physicians who have to be certified to insert these implants on patients. Also, it will not be available in pharmacies and will only be dispensed with prescription.

Supporters of the use of this prescribed drug say that the procedure will make the drug out of reach of children who are at risk to accidentally ingesting the drug in oral form. Apart from this, probuphine also offer other benefits such as providing correct and ample levels of buprenorphine and ensuring patient compliance. It is also given once every six months in an outpatient setting, making it convenient.

However, not all patients can be candidates for the procedure as per the FDA approval. Only those who belong to the category where dependency to buprenorphine has already been minimized to at least 8 milligrams or less are considered although trained health care providers who are certified to perform the procedure can give it to new users of the drug as well as other off-label users.

Understanding Opioid Addiction

Addiction is characterized by cravings and is a chronic disease of brain reward, memory and motivation. It can also manifest lack of impulse control. Opioid addiction is a medical condition that is considered to be an increasing global problem. The use of oral buprenorphine is considered as an effective treatment in managing this medical condition but it does not come without disadvantages such as possible abuse and incorrect dosage of the medication.

The patient will be given four implants of small sticks that are around 26 millimeters in length and will be inserted in the upper arm. The simple procedure will only take less than a quarter of an hour to finish.

The approval by the FDA of the implant will have an impact on the prevalence of opioid addiction in the U.S. with a recorded number of more than 80 people overdosing from opioids. Developed by Titan Pharmaceuticals, the marketing of Probuphine by Braeburn Pharmaceuticals is under a license agreement between the two pharmaceuticals.

Meanwhile, the first series of Probuphine implant trainings will be conducted in San Juan Puerto Rico from August 5-7 for qualified health care providers. In the U.S., more than 4,000 doctors have already expressed their interest to get certified to insert and remove the implant.




 Posted by at 9:56 am

Addicts Turning to Imodium in Record Numbers

 Opioid Addiction  Comments Off on Addicts Turning to Imodium in Record Numbers
Jul 052016

A growing number of desperate opioid users who cannot get their hands on painkillers, such as Oxycontin and Vicodin, are turning to the anti-diarrhea drug Imodium to mitigate the symptoms of opioid withdrawal or satisfy their addiction. The said medication used to be a prescription drug and a controlled substance up until 1988 when it became an over-the-counter drug and became easier to access.

Why Addicts Turn to Imodium?

Imodium has an active ingredient, known as loperamide, which gives a certain high to any individual who consumes it in excessive amounts. A report that was published online also said that abuse of this drug has been linked to two deaths in New York as well as irregular heartbeats which are considered to be life-threatening, with about a dozen cases reported for the period of 18 months. It does not enter the central nervous and acts on the opioid receptors in the gastrointestinal tract. When taken in small doses, it will not result to a certain high but in excessive amounts, it can be fatal.

It was just recent that medical experts have discovered the proliferation of Imodium-abuse although toxicologists and doctors in emergency departments believe this growing problem is more widespread. According to lead author and SUNY Upstate Medical Center clinical toxicologist, William Eggleston, patients are taking it over a period of several months and are turning to loperamide to get high and manage muscle pains and other symptoms of opioid withdrawal.

Meanwhile, spokeswoman for the Food and Drug Administration, Sarah Peddicord, has already expressed their knowledge of the threatening growing habit and confirmed that they are going to do something about the problem.

“The F.D.A. is aware of recent reports of adverse events related to the intentional misuse and/or abuse of the anti-diarrhea product loperamide to treat symptoms of opioid withdrawal or produce euphoric effects.”

Loperamide, if taken in the recommended dose, of not exceeding four caplets or eight milligrams,is not harmful. However, people who abuse the use are reported to take up to 100 caplets of two milligrams on a daily basis.

There have been two cases of two individuals who lost their lives as the effect of taking excessive doses of the drug. One was a 39-year old man who underwent self-medication using the anti-diarrhea drug, instead of the prescribed buprenorphine to manage opioid withdrawal symptoms while another man, who was 24 years old, also died from the use of loperamide.

Since the drug is a non-prescription medication and is not expensive at only $7.59 for 4oo tablets, purchasing the drug in large amounts did not really raise a red flag. Experts also reiterated that the presence of loperamide in patients cannot be detected in routine drug screenings.

Patients who suffer from loperamide abuse show signs of lethargy and can manifest symptoms of heroin overdose. Because of this, the reversal drug given to patients is the anti-opioid drug, Naloxone.

Expert toxicologists are pushing on putting a limit on the sales of loperamide, just like the cap on the sales of pseudoephedrine, a non-prescription drug, 10 years ago. According to Dr. Eggleston, the FDA is going to believe the seriousness of the issue when more people will be creating noise about it.




 Posted by at 10:35 am

Fentanyl Is a Powerful Opioid

 Opioid Addiction, Prescription Drug Abuse  Comments Off on Fentanyl Is a Powerful Opioid
Jun 092016

With fentanyl, addiction problems in the US related to opioid-based painkillers have just got more dangerous. This highly potent painkiller prescribed by doctors for treating cancer is now being produced illegally and rolled out on the streets to deliver a super high that often leads to death. While this drug has been around way back the 1960s soothing pain in cancer patients, it can also kill, with the most recent, popular case involving the death of American songwriter, singer, record producer, multi-instrumentalist and actor, Prince. Now, recreational users are learning that this drug causes an effect that is very easy to overdose on.

Natasha Butler, a mother, has shared how fentanyl has ruined her life, when it caused the death of her only son, Jerome. Having never heard of the substance, she was baffled when doctors told her that her son died from an overdose of it, which is revealed to be 50x stronger than heroin and 100x more potent than morphine. She said that Jerome had never been prescribed with the drug, though shared that Jerome was given by an acquaintance what he thought was a Norco pill, which is a less potent painkiller also based on opioid, but actually contained fentanyl.

Jerome was just one of the ten people who died in just a short period of 12 days in March from pills containing such a substance, contributing to a sudden rise of deaths in Sacramento County, California. Now, investigators are still tracing the source, with similar incidents of overdose involving fentanyl occurring across the US.

Pointing out the potency of the drug, San Francisco-based Special Agent John Martin from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) said, “Just micrograms can make a difference between life and death. It’s that serious. All you have to do is touch it. It can be absorbed through the skin and the eyes.” He added that this prolific killer is so potent that when law enforcers try to seize it, they have to be in level-A hazmat suits, which are the same kind of gear worn by healthcare workers to avoid being contaminated by the Ebola virus.

Forensic scientist Terry Baisz also shared her concerns about fentanyl being commonplace in her community today, even surprised by the similarity of the drug’s appearance to those being sold by pharmaceutical firms. “They look like what you’re getting from the pharmacy,” she said. “I was shocked the first time I tested this stuff and it came back as fentanyl. We hadn’t seen it before 2015 and now we’re seeing it a lot.” Since the drug has made its way to Orange County, it has been causing the deaths of many people.

Another official who was alarmed by the trend, that she had to get involved, is California State Senator Patricia Bates. Commenting on the lethality of fentanyl, she said, “Two minutes, and you could be in respiratory arrest and be dead. It’s kind of like, get high and die.” She has learned these details as related overdose deaths started rising in areas she is representing, particularly South Orange County. Now, she is trying to pass a bill that places heavier penalties on those selling the drug at high volumes.

Eliza Wheeler, project manager of the Drug Overdose Prevention and Education (DOPE) Project in San Francisco, California is also helping get the word out on the streets about fentanyl. She said that many people do not know about the drug, and her campaign will spread awareness and help people avoid the lethal consequences they get from it.




 Posted by at 2:28 pm

Where to Get Help for Prescription Drug Abuse

 Drug Addiction  Comments Off on Where to Get Help for Prescription Drug Abuse
May 192016

One of the serious health problems in the US is the abuse and nonmedical use of prescription drugs. The numbers won’t lie, as there are 52 million people who take prescription medications for non-medical reasons. Those under this group are young people, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) survey entitled Monitoring the Future.

Senior high school students are found out that 1 out of 12 use prescription pain reliever called Vicodin for nonmedical use. Meanwhile, 1 out of 20 students were found to abuse OxyContin that makes these medications highly abused by adolescents.


Side-Effects of Abusing Prescription Drugs

Prescription drugs such as stimulants, opioids, and depressants may lead to various adverse health effects which include addiction. However, prescription drug abuse may differ in according to age and gender, among other factors. The sad thing about this is that the deaths due to unintentional overdose of prescription drugs such as opioid painkillers quadrupled as of 1999. In fact, it has allegedly outnumbered those that involve cocaine and heroin addiction.


Prescription Drug Abuse Treatment Methodology

When referring a child to a treatment center, it is important to know what to look for. This is due to the fact that not all treatments are designed equally. According to the NIDA, choosing a program must involve treatment methods that have strong scientific evidence. Additionally, it is crucial to note whether it has customized treatments to the individual needs of a particular patient. One good example is to look into the background and history of the patient with drug abuse.

Likewise, it is important to note that when choosing a treatment program must use a combinational approach on therapy. This must be able to address the detoxification and the continuing treatment of the patient.


Role of the Family in the Treatment Process

The NIDA also encourages the families of the victim to consider substance abuse to be tantamount to chronic disorders including asthma and heart disease. For this reason, it is essential to keep the connection to the community since a local support group is important.

Drug Abuse as a Social Issue

According to the NIDA director, it is difficult to determine the greater impact of prescription drug addiction if the social issues of the individual aren’t given any attention. For this reason, it is best to address substance abuse as a disorder from the perspective of the whole person.

Research on Early Warning Signs

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse is focused on researching to uncover the link that exists between behavioral traits and substance abuse. This will eventually provide parents with the essential warning signs to avoid getting their children to addiction.

It is also their effort to determine if the treatment methods being used works or not. Hence, it is their responsibility to inform healthcare providers and individuals regarding their findings.

Moreover, the National Institute of Health provides resources that should fit adults, children, and young adults who are suffering from prescription medication abuse. This can be done with the use of diagnoses, tests, medications, and similar options for therapy.





 Posted by at 10:14 am

Why Isn’t Naltrexone in Wider Use for Opioid Addictions?

 Opioid Addiction  Comments Off on Why Isn’t Naltrexone in Wider Use for Opioid Addictions?
Apr 232016

The numbers surrounding opioid addiction in the United States are surprising and depressing at the same time. Almost two million people are abusing prescription opioid painkillers, while 14,000 people die every year from misusing these drugs. Prescription-filling of painkillers have risen from 2004 to 2012, while deaths from drug overdoses have risen from 2002 to 2014 and reached an all-time high.

The rise in opioid addiction has prompted many people to take action. President Obama, for example, has allotted more than $1 billion of the budget to fund the fight against heroin and opioid abuse, while several presidential candidates have given their opinion about the topic. Still, there’s one solution that many people have not learned or heard about, and it’s called naltrexone.


What is naltrexone?

Naltrexone is an FDA-approved drug that can treat dependence on opiates (which include heroin and morphine). It works by competing with opiates for the brain’s opioid receptors and blocking the effects of these drugs. It has been approved to help patients who are battling alcohol addiction.

Naltrexone can be taken orally, but experts have developed an extended-release version of the drug that must be injected to patients once a month. It’s considered to be better than other opiate addiction treatments (like methadone and buprenorphine) that need to be taken daily in pill form. Since it’s easier to stick a once-a-month injection appointment than to remember taking a pill every day, experts assume that those who opt for extended-release naltrexone can recover quickly and effectively from their opiate addiction.


Why naltrexone isn’t widely used

Naltrexone sounds like the miracle that many opiate-dependent patients need, so why isn’t it embraced by addiction rehabilitation facilities and used to treat many people? There are several reasons for this, and these include the following:


It’s a drug-based strategy

Many rehab centers focus on counseling patients and encouraging them to change their behavior, which is why they look down on using pharmacological means to treat addiction. But, while it’s certainly essential to modify patients’ approach to life, it’s important to note that not everyone responds well to behavior modification and that naltrexone may be helpful to those who don’t.


It may lead to overdose

Many experts are afraid that people who take naltrexone injections and then stop to go back to opiate abuse may be at higher risk of overdose. However, a recent study shows that this isn’t true and even demonstrates that naltrexone can help opiate-dependent patients who are eager to turn their lives around.


It can be expensive

Naltrexone certainly isn’t cheap, considering that it has to be refrigerated at all times and must be administered by trained personnel. But the cost seems to be worth it since it, aside from saving lives, it saves both the government and individuals a substantial amount in healthcare costs.


Should naltrexone use be encouraged?

The short answer seems to be “Yes”. It’s now up to addiction rehab experts to recommend the extended-release version of naltrexone to their patients. Opiate-dependent patients who want to get well should also ask their medical team to see if they’re qualified to receive monthly naltrexone injections.




 Posted by at 8:00 am

Heroin Rehab Spikes in Jacksonville, Florida

 Opioid Addiction  Comments Off on Heroin Rehab Spikes in Jacksonville, Florida
Mar 292016

Heroin is highly abused in Jacksonville, Florida where it is said to be claiming more lives in Duval County than ever before. This involves cases of heroin for sale, heroin abuse and incarceration related to the drug which has been increasing dramatically. In fact, rehabilitation facilities in the city revealed that they are now tackling nearly 50% more of these cases than the previous years.

“You can easily, especially in Jacksonville they’re everywhere there’s a drug dealer on every corner,” said a patient and mother of two, named Kelsey McCoy. “All you have to do is go up and (ask) do you know where I can find this? And if they don’t know and if they don’t have it they know someone who does. It never fails. You can always find it.” McCoy stated that she went from abusing pain pills to using heroin, explaining that her ex-boyfriend introduced her to the drug. For her, access to it was literally very easy. “It was the cost,” she explained. “Pain pills were getting too expensive. It’s $30 a pill or you could spend $20 and get what would be the same effect of using two pills. It gives you a feeling of power almost.”

However, this powerful, but false, feeling of hope and courage nearly cost her everything. “I have a 4-month-old and a 9-year-old,” McCoy stated. “I’ve always had my children, I’ve always been a good mom. It came down to either I come here or I lose my kids and I’m not losing my kids.” She nearly lost her life, like others close to her home and across the country. According to statistics, deaths related to heroin in Duval County have increased from 17 in 2014 to 45 in 2015.

Commenting on this situation, physician assistant at Gateway Community Services, Danny Smith, said “I’m not surprised because heroin use is up. When people come in (I ask) what’s your drug choice? Heroin. It use to be this, but the heroin is less expensive so they’re using more and more heroin.”

For 5 years, Smith has worked with rehab patients, and seen a 43% spike in heroin use from July 2015 through February 2016, compared with the number in the same period last year. “Parents need to talk to their kids a lot more,” Smith added. “See what they’re doing and be involved with them. I think that will help more than anything else.”

McCoy, who is now just weeks away from completing a rehab program, has warned that while a high from heroin is just short lived, its effects could last a lifetime. “It’s so dangerous just stay away from it,” she said. “You literally could go get one thing from one person one day and be fine and get the exact same amount from the exact same person the very next day and fall out and overdose.”

Also, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office revealed that the incarceration rate for crimes related to the drug increased from 77 in 2014 to 117 in 2015. And so far this 2016, there have been already 19 arrests related to heroin, and Smith wants to spread awareness that drugs are far reaching and could be found in any neighborhood.




 Posted by at 2:44 pm