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Fentanyl-Laced Cocaine on the Rise in California

Fentanyl, an opioid that according to NIDA is 50-100 times stronger than heroin, has been a leading contributing factor to the current opioid overdose epidemic. According to the CDC, 30,000 Americans overdosed on 2013. This number doubled in 2014.

Because Fentanyl is substantially stronger than what users expect, proper dosage can be difficult, leading to overdoses. Making matters worse, Fentanyl has been showing up in other substances, including heroin, home-pressed counterfeit pills, and even stimulants such as cocaine. Adding Fentanyl to stimulants creates a “speed ball” effect that many users prefer. However, unaware of the proportions in these deadly cocktails, users are unable to dose properly.

This month, three men overdosed in downtown Los Angeles, California. Officials suspect that the overdose was due to cocaine laced with Fentanyl. Until now, California has had one of the nation’s lowest rates of opioid overdoses. Experts suggest that this is due to the overwhelming prevalence of stimulants in the state. Now that these stimulants, such as cocaine, are being mixed with fentanyl, experts expect to see a dramatic rise in opioid related overdoses.

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