ASHEVILLE, North Carolina.- The Asheville Police Department issued a warning this week for a dangerous batch of fentanyl, a pain reliever used to treat severe pain.
At least about five people died from suspected opioid overdoses between January 14 and 16, the agency reported.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that pharmaceutical fentanyl is a synthetic analgesic generally used to treat advanced cancer pain. This type of opioid is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, they warn.
Recent cases of fentanyl overdoses and deaths are related to the illegal manufacture of this painkiller, according to a report by The Associated Press (AP).
The CDC further indicates that fentanyl is often mixed with heroin and cocaine to increase its effects, and this happens with or without the knowledge of the user.
Fayetteville Opioid Crisis
Asheville wouldn’t be the only city issuing a warning to its residents for opioid use. Fayetteville authorities have seen an increase in overdoses.
Louis Leake, director of the Carolina Treatment Center, told The Fayetteville Observer that Cumberland County was suffering from a major opioid crisis a year and a half ago, but that this it had improved just before the covid-19 pandemic. Health officials are closely monitoring the rise in these numbers.
“I think once it started to improve, people thought it was okay. It’s still a problem,” Leake explained.
Emergency room visits for opioid overdoses increased by 23% from 2019 to 2020, based on North Carolina records.
According to experts, the covid-19 pandemic has increased this crisis due to factors such as isolation and self-medication.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (Ncdhhs) has a hotline that provides help to those with substance use disorders. To locate the office closest to your county visit this Web page, or call 1-800-222-1222.