Fentanyl A Leading Cause Of Deadly Opioid Overdoses

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WFIU/WTIU on 12/13/2018 by Sean Hogan

Studies are indicating fentanyl is causing more cases of deadly opioid overdoses than heroin.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that when overdosed usually results in the substance attacking areas in the brain that control respiration.

Brad Ray is the Director of Indiana University Center for Health and Justice Research.

He says all prescribed opioids have a morphine milligram equivalent count which stands for the amount of morphine that is packed into an opioid substance.

And a small volume of fentanyl may contain more morphine than an opioid of a much larger volume.

“If you go and you get your hydrocodone or your oxycodone prescribed from a doctor you know exactly how much is in each of those pills because we regulate them.” Ray says. “The minute somebody’s moving into the illicit drug market, you don’t know what you’re getting or how much is in there.”

Fentanyl prescriptions have dropped in Indiana over the last five years.

Ray says the most efficient way to combat overdosing is to promote treatment for substance use disorder and increase the availability of medical remedies such as buprenorphine, naloxone and methadone.