United States: The illicit fentanyl, the root cause of the US overdose epidemic, is now being used in combination with methamphetamine at an increasingly greater amount, a new report revealed.

The laboratory- Millennium Health reported that last year there were 60 percent of patients whose urine samples showed fentanyl, also tested positive for methamphetamine.

Further, it is interesting to note that the fentanyl-positive samples had been cocaine positive in 22 percent of the cases.

The article states that, as per officials at the Millennium, it is the impact of what there is noted as the “fourth wave” of the overdose epidemic in the US, which began about a decade ago and there was an increase in the irregular use of prescription opioids, a heroin crisis, and more recently an increase in the use of illegal fentanyl, which is revealed in the USA Today.

Addicts illicit fentanyl consuming other substances too

However, the addicted individuals are abusing illegal fentanyl while also using other substances such as methamphetamine and cocaine which are stimulants.

Reports have also been emerging that there is a reduction in the prescription of both heroin and opioids when compared to yesterday.

Out of the urine samples that have fentanyl were studied and found that 17 percent of them also contained heroin and 7 percent of them had the presence of opioids.

The report of the Millennium is presented on the basis of samples gathered from around 4.1 million patients from 50 states in the US from January 1, 2013, to December 15, 2013.

The collected samples were taken from doctor’s offices and clinics that observe patients having treatment for pain, addiction, or behavioral health.

According to Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in total 93 percent of fentanyl samples tested positive for at least one other substance; calling it a concerning finding, as per the USA Today report.

She said, “I did not expect that number to be so high.”

Deaths linked with drug overdose

In the USA, in 2021, statistics indicate that more than a hundred thousand overdoses deaths were reported and the figures are still on the rise as we see into 2022.

Data looks very provisional from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and reveals that two percent (2%) of overdose deaths occurred earlier in the year.

Methamphetamine presence in fentanyl overdoses

Visual Representation – Methamphetamine Fentanyl Overdose. Credit | Shutterstock

The studied cases, especially those of methamphetamine, are reported to be more often the ones in the overdoses of fentanyl.

Not only has the rate of stimulants being found in fentanyl overdose deaths increased from 1 in every 3 deaths in 2021 to about 1 in every 100 deaths in 2011, but even the current data suggests it is still on the rise.

The methamphetamine presence in a number of samples is the most discouraging thing, said Eric Dawson, the vice president of clinical affairs for Millennium Health.

Dawson said, “Methamphetamine is more potent, more pure, and probably cheaper than it’s ever been at any time in this country,” and, “The methamphetamine product that is flooding all of our communities is as dangerous as it’s ever been,” USA Today reported.

No counter-drug or treatment to stop the addiction of Methamphetamine

The medical community might outline the signal tools big enough to repel the increasing use of methamphetamine which seems to be a major drug abuse epidemic.

Although opioid overdose reversal medications like naloxone temporarily block opioid receptors in the brain to quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, these medications do not prevent chronic pain or other underlying problems contributing to opioid use.

The latest version of naloxone, the nasal spray Narcan, which can be stocked by public health departments, schools, police and fire departments, and federal agencies is available for purchase nationwide.

Pharmacy chains CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Walmart decided to take a step ahead of a broken system by making Narcan publicly available over the counter without any medical prescription needed.

And from the other side, there are no drugs FDA-approved for overstimulation from drugs like methamphetamine.

Substitution therapies made with medications including methadone and buprenorphine are widely applied to treat the need for opioids and alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal. On the other hand, there are no even substitutes for the use of methamphetamines or other stimulants for such patients according to Dawson.

Dawson stated while noticing the glaring deficit, “We need effective treatments for stimulant-use disorder,” reported by USA Today.


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