The Drug Report

Facts about what can go wrong when people use drugs

  • The Best Drug Info Ever?

    A big part of my inspiration for The Drug Report was Beth Pearce's amazing film, VOICE OF THE VICTIMS: TRUE STORIES OF ECSTASY AND KETAMINE. The film simply lets the victims of drug tragedies tell their stories. It's real life, it's undeniable, and it's incredibly powerful. I'm sure Beth has saved many, many lives, and it is my hope that this blog will do so as well. To learn more about her film, go to Voice Of The Victims.

    FACTS ARE FACTS

    A friend of mine likes to say, "You're entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts."

    When it comes to drugs, there are lots of opinions out there: Some think drugs are safe and fun, some think they're dangerous and frightening, and many think everything in between.

    But facts are facts, and when someone dies from drugs, or someone is murdered by a person who is on drugs, or is raped by someone who has given them drugs, that's just a fact. Drug users who actively promote drug use rail against these facts, and I expect they'll be commenting regularly on The Drug Report. But they can't change the facts.

Fentanyl/Heroin Mix Kills 100+

Posted by Childress on June 7, 2006

Drug marketers screwed up big time.  Either they were trying to make heroin more potent, or they were working to develop a black market in the super-powerful prescription painkiller fentanyl.  In either case, they messed up … and more than 100 are dead.  Oops.  From AP:

Local and federal authorities on Wednesday announced a joint investigation into fentanyl-laced heroin that has caused several deaths in the Pittsburgh area and at least 100 deaths from Philadelphia to Chicago in recent months.

The investigation would try to determine whether fentanyl, a painkiller, is being used to make heroin more potent or whether local dealers are using it to create a market for a new drug, U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan said.

Buchanan and other officials declined to speculate where the heroin in Pittsburgh might be coming from or what the source of the fentanyl might be.

Earlier this week, U.S. drug czar John Walters said federal agents, working in cooperation with the Mexican government, had closed down a lab in Mexico that might be the main source of the fentanyl being put in U.S. heroin. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said it was testing fentanyl seized in Mexico to see if it could be linked to deaths in Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.

One of the risks of taking drugs is that drug users are letting theselves be used as guinea pigs and test markets for new products.  As any lab scientist knows, not every test is successful, which is why a lot of tests lead up to the first human trials.

Not so in the unscrupulous world of drug dealers.

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12 Responses to “Fentanyl/Heroin Mix Kills 100+”

  1. Dodgy said

    The answer to this…

    Free clean herion and clean needles on prescription to reg addicts and shooting galleries.

  2. Childress said

    You propose a fine answer for addicts, but it's a terrible answer for society. Just look at cities where that's occurred, like Amsterdam, and witness the ugliness, crime and destruction junkies bring with them. Besides, think this through a bit, Dodgy.  Clean needles wouldn't have saved a single one of these people.  They would have just gotten bad drugs through clean needles.

  3. Rob Wood said

    The shooting gallery here in Sydney has had none of the ugliness, crime or destruction that supposedly go along with safe injection rooms so I don’t think that can necessarily be used as an argument. Not saying I necessarily agree that shooting galleries are the answer, but I am honest enough to say that I don’t know what the answer is.

  4. Dodgy said

    >You propose a fine answer for addicts, but it’s a terrible answer for society. Just look at cities where that’s occurred, like Amsterdam, and witness the ugliness, crime and destruction junkies bring with them. Besides, think this through a bit, Dodgy. Clean needles wouldn’t have saved a single one of these people. They would have just gotten bad drugs through clean needles.

    Herion doesn’t just make you go out and whant to break the law,
    Addicts often have to commit crime to pay for their addiction. If they didn’t have to pay for it, it makes sense that drug related crime would fall. Herion is also a big earner for organised crime simply because it’s illegal. Look what happened with prohibition in the US

    Shooting galleries don’t sound nice but they are certainly the lesser of two evils. Clean needles, safe places to shoot up, and clean free drugs will improve saftey for addicts and allow them to come into contact with the right people to help them put their addiction behind them.

    At the moment laws only serve to push drug use underground, which can only be a bad thing.

  5. Childress said

    “Herion doesn’t just make you go out and whant to break the law. Addicts often have to commit crime to pay for their addiction. If they didn’t have to pay for it, it makes sense that drug related crime would fall.”

    I’m sorry, but that is one of the most illogical things I’ve ever read. Are you justifying any crime under the simple rule that if someone wants something but doesn’t have the money, it’s OK for them to steal in order to get it. Are you saying that because it’s a drug that makes them steal — specifically herorin, that everyone knows is terribly addicting and life-ruining — that it’s OK that they steal to support their habit?

    To put it in the most complimentary way possible, that is not mainstream thinking. For good reason.

  6. Dodgy said

    I’m not justfying any crime.

    The point I was making is that most drug related crime comes about because the drug is illegal.

    Whether you like it or not it’s pretty obvious that giving clean free drugs on prescription to heroin addicts would mean they wouldn’t have to fund their drug addiction themsleves, and therefore woudln’t have to commit other crimes to raise those funds.

    It would also make a large dent in the earnings of the oganised crime gangs who traffic heroin.

    Shooting galleries supplying clean needles and a safe place to shoot up, would cut the number of deaths from overdose and from needle trasmitted diseases, and also bring addicts into contact with the necessary people to help them overcome their addiction.

    Treating addiction as a crime is never going to work, as with alcohol, it needs to be treated as an illness.

    Whatever your opinion is, I think it’s pretty obvious that the system we have now doesn’t work. It’s time to change our approach.

  7. Childress said

    A social scientist could justify your position, and another social scientist could justify the opposite position. There’s plenty of evidence on both sides.

    More important than anything a social scientist could come up with is this: It is not a good idea to reward bad behavior. It’s fundamentally a bad idea. If someone is destroying themselves, being a burden on society and putting others at risk, punishment is the optimal solution. It either discourages their use or gives society a way to remove them from positions in which they can harm others. It sets a deterring example for others, so they’ll think twice before pursuing a dangerous lifestyle.

    Legalizing heroin sends an awful message to addicts and non-addicts alike. Addicts will be less incentivized to clean up their lives; non-addicts will be less incentivized to not mess up their lives.

  8. Rob said

    So how would you account for many trials of legalised heroin and clean, safe shooting galleries being a statistical success in terms of deaths and crime?

  9. Dodgy said

    >It is not a good idea to reward bad behavior

    And herein lies the problem, Heroin addiction is an ilness and should be looked on as such, not as crime.

    Heroin addicts don’t need to be punished, they need help. Giving them a criminal record and sending them to prison is not what they need. This is why heroin needs to be decriminalised (that’s not the same as legalised), it would send the message to addicts that they can get help without the risk of being prosecuted.

    Almost all of the problems that result from heroin are caused by the fact its illegal.

  10. Leo said

    First and foremost, thankfully both the pro and con sides of free heroin involve compassion rather than disgust for the addict. However, can we say with assurance that most heroin addicts would prefer to remain in the addicted state if given a viable solution? Free heroin might cut down on many of the issues, but is it ultimately in the best interest of and fair to the addict? If you became addicted to some drug tomorrow, in your frame of mind today, wouldn’t you hope that there would be some sort of way that someone could put a wedge between the drug and yourself rather than providing the very tool that has now become your downfall? I certainly would.

    Many addicts steal to support their habit primarily when they’ve lost their livelihood which is a result of the addiction and not the cost of the drug. They still need a place to live, food and other basic necessities.

    Heroin addicts already have access to the “right” people if they so desire, but heroin is far more powerful than any helpful hand. With the exception of GHB, an addict is unlikely to seek help until the desperation becomes more powerful than the drug. Also, many of these addicts don’t know or can’t remember what it is to be clean and are therefore not in a position to make an informed decision as they would under other circumstances, thus prolonging the time it takes to reach out for help.

    I thing the drug court solution that some states are now providing as an alternative to standard correctional system is the best approach to date for addicts and is showing a lower level of recidivism than prior approaches. In the long run it saves lives, protects addicts from the negative influences of being exploited by violent offenders, offers addicts a more dignified and supportive system and saves a considerable amount of tax money. Drug addiction is a mental health issue first and foremost; our jails should be limited to housing criminals.

    Alcoholics would surely welcome free alcohol, but no one is recommending that as a solution. Alcoholism, and the 12 Step approach, has taught us not to be enablers if we ultimately want to help the individual. Why would we offer less to drug addicts? We complain about drugs being vilified while alcohol is legal, but then at least treat addiction like alcoholism in broad terms of treatment.

    Needle exchange is simply about reducing the transmission of disease which kills more often than the drugs that led to the disease. I believe it would help society in many ways, but it is still not a solution for addiction, just one of the complications of addiction. We’re still left with a floundering addict.

  11. Childress said

    The major fault in all of Dodgy’s comments is that he assumes drug addicts, heroin addicts, think straight and logically. They do not; their reality is severely warped by the drug. Leo aludes to this, and it’s very true.

    In any case, the purpose of The Drug Report is not to argue legality or illegality of drugs, it is simply to make people aware of the dangers and risks inherent with taking drugs. This is reflected by the fact that one legal drug, alcohol, is covered as extensively in this blog as the illegal ones.

  12. STRUGGLING ADDICT said

    I have shot dope for many years and I am insulted by your over simplification of what you believe heroin addicts think, want, and do. I am intelligent, Bachelors degree and all. This disease does not discriminate. It is a misrable lifestyle that NONE OF US ENJOY. WHO LIKES FRANTICALLY WAKING UP FRANTICALLY JABBING THEMSELVES WITH A DULL BLOODY POINT IN THE MORNING JUST TO PREVENT VOMITING AND SHITTING YOUR PANTS. Danger and Risks do not do this justice. More like TORTURE TILL DEATH. If only it were as so simple and cut and dry as childress so egotistically explains. Reward bad behavior? What am I a dog? Don’t worry, I have a conscience that eats me alive, I don’t need somebody else to punish or reward me. I have my own relationship with God, and that is the only reason I am still alive. That Dr. Peace is absolutly right. I have been fighting this stuff for years and you really haven’t a clue unless you’ve been there. IT IS MORE THEN DANGEROUS, IT IS DEATH. RISKS? I’D RATHER DIE THEN BE A HOSTAGE TO THIS DAMN POISEN. IT IS NOT A RISK, IT IS DOOM. ONLY GOD CAN HELP THIS. You should read the Big book of alcoholics anonymous if you have intrest in this stuff.

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