Sunday, August 28, 2016

Fentalyl overdoses, thanks to Mexican drug lords and China

The CDC just released a page about the increases of Fentanyl overdoses in recent months.

You might notice all those "heroin" overdoses that Drudge links to? Many of these are Fentanyl laced heroin.

Now, this caught my eye because of two things:

One, Fentanyl has long been used as a short term anesthetic, but is not an ordinary prescription drug. (Indeed, for awhile it was known as the favorite drug for anesthesiologists to get addicted on because it was short acting but gave a wonderful high).

Then they developed a Fenanyl patch. This was also wonderful, because it meant our cancer and pain patients didn't have to keep taking pills and swing between being sleepy and being in pain.

It could however cause problems since it took awhile to work, and in chronically ill patients who got another illness, it could cause a decrease in respirations and alertness (this happened to two of my patients, both elderly).

It was also good because it gave us an alternative for patients who were in pain but kept "losing" their medicines. We started one patient on the patch, and her daughter came in to the ER the next day withdrawing, showing us why her medicines were being lost.

However, druggies are inventive, and after a few years, the druggies found out how to process the patches to get the drug out, which left us with another medicine that could be abused.

However, the recent huge increase in fentanyl overdoses makes me wonder: why now, and where it is coming from?

I posted earlier about how the Mexican cartels were switchinlg from marijuana to meth, cocaine or heroine now that marijuana is essentially "legal" many places (many of the "medical marijuana" clinics are scams for druggies).

So where is the fentanyl coming from?

From the Mexican cartels, of course, with help from China, where they buy the precursors of the drug.


Three weeks before El Chapo was re-captured, we returned to Sinaloa to meet with heroin producers who were mixing the drug into their product. “There’s almost nobody making pure heroin anymore, because el diablito is so much stronger,” one trafficker told us. His family sourced the precursor chemicals from China, he said, and paid a Colombian chemist $50,000 to teach them how to cook up fentanyl. While the majority of the fentanyl causing overdoses across the U.S. is from this illegal stockpile produced by Mexican cartels, a portion of it also comes in legal pharmaceutical forms, according to the DEA. But it's hard to get accurate numbers on just how much of the deadly fentanyl is from prescriptions -- most medical examiners and coroners are unable to tell the difference between pharmaceutical and black-market versions of the drug, THE CDC POINTS OUT.
I wonder how much fentanyl is being sold on the black market with the knowledge of drug companies?

and how much is "diverted" or stolen or just carelessly or deliberately sold to pill mills?

update: Some of it is from a fentanyl variation used to shoot animals. LINK

Related item: Rappler has an article about how Duterte's "war on drugs" isn't needed because the amount of drugs used was going down by ordinary means.

Ah, but that was just running in place because the big shots getting paid off weren't being caught.

Now that the mid level dealers are being arrested or worse, the low level users are turning themselves in.

Not only is the local building that used to be the city hall now a drug rehab area, but the local churches are getting involved with rehab.

The college students and the elite media are up in arms huffing and puffing about how terrible his drug war is, because of the killings.

Two comments: They didn't seem upset about killing related to drug users or overdoses in the past. They only worry now because maybe the cops are scared and might not take the usual payment to look the other way?

comment two: They really believe the statistics?

they note the numbers of arrests went way down starting in 2002 and only recently have started going up again.

Figure 2. Sources: PDEA and DDB, as collected in the Philippine Statistical Yearbook 2015.

Hmm.. wonder what could be behind that?

This Inquirer article points out how the big shots get away with it. The big shot is innocent, the family member is innocent, and the guy caught who works for him and was caught red handed gets off with a little help from their friends.

or as Rappler puts it:

What can explain these correlated trends? Could they be an indication of the changing aggressiveness of past administrations in going after drugs? Or could they be indirect measures of the rise and fall of the drug problem on the ground? Understanding the causality (rather than just the correlations) behind these trends highlights the need for further research.

most of those going into rehab are on shabu.

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