Caution: What’s in this drug? | News, Sports, Jobs

Late last fall, the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Ohio Narcotics Intelligence Center released a report on “Potentially fatal counterfeit pills in Ohio.” The report said “Counterfeit prescription pills containing fentanyl and other potentially deadly ingredients exist in Ohio and are almost certainly becoming more sophisticated, likely preventing individuals, including law enforcement, from easily determining the legitimacy of pills and potentially contributing to an increase in accidental overdoses .” the unclassified review advised.

Earlier the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) was published “a public safety alert warning of a sharp rise in counterfeit prescription pills containing fentanyl and methamphetamine.” The DEA hadn’t issued such a warning in six years, so this is something to take seriously.

On January 28, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) published its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Notes from the Field: “Increased incidence of fentanyl-related deaths involving para-fluorofentanyl or metonitazene – Knox County, Tennessee, November 2020-August 2021.”

This report, authored by the DEA, Clinical Toxicology and Biomonitoring Laboratory at the University of California-San Francisco, and the Knox County Regional Forensic Center in Knoxville, Tennessee, states that the number of drug overdose deaths in the period between From 78,056 to 100,306 in April 2020 and April 2021. Approximately 75 percent of drug overdose deaths in 2020 were due to opioids.‘ says the CDC. “As illicitly manufactured fentanyl continues to crowd out the heroin market and as the illicit use of counterfeit pills containing either fentanyl, various fentanyl-related compounds, or other opioids increases, the risk of overdose deaths remains high.

“Recently, para-fluorofentanyl, a substance from research efforts in the 1960s that was referred to as ‘China White’ before being classified as a Schedule 1 substance in 1986, reappeared in the illicit drug market.”

The drug, CDC says, is found in heroin packets and counterfeit pills, and reported in autopsy findings and supportive toxicology results. The Knox County Forensic Center is conducting autopsies for 23 counties and identifying para-fluorofentanyl in the November 2020 toxicology results and metonitazene, either alone or in combination with fentanyl or para-fluorofentanyl in January 2021. During the November 2020 and August 2021 period the forensic examination center reports:

–770 accidental drug overdose deaths.

–562 of these deaths (73 percent) tested positive for fentanyl postmortem.

–192 fentanyl positive tests only.

–188 positive tests for fentanyl and methamphetamine.

-48 with para-fluorofentanyl.

–26 with metonitaces.

“At FRC (Family Recovery Center) we are not aware of any specific use of paera-fluorofentanyl and metonitazene by those we serve.” said Amanda Kantaras, the agency’s chief clinical officer. “But that doesn’t mean it’s not out there.

“We look for fentanyl and send it to the lab for confirmation, which lists all derivatives.” She said. It’s not certain if these particular substances would show up in a lab test at this point.

According to reports, these drugs are so strong that an overdose can cause instant death. More naloxone may be required to reverse overdose death.

Ms. Kantaras said that while telemedicine has brought benefits, there are still challenges: Internet connectivity, people running out of phone minutes, and other technological barriers have limited the use of telemedicine services for some clients.

“Here at FRC, we have continued to provide in-person services throughout the pandemic, but we have found that some in need have assumed they would not be able to receive treatment during this time. We’ve held hybrid groups, some in person and some via Zoom, which still provide that group experience that we know is beneficial to those seeking sobriety.

Addiction doesn’t have an address, but the Family Recovery Center does. For more information on education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral problems, contact the Agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; Phone: 330-424-1468; or email, info@familyrecovery.org. Visit the website at familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded in part by the Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.

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