We continue our coverage on the Opioid epidemic by looking into the rise in popularity of Fentanyl.
Zac Kaye has more on what the District Attorney there is saying.
The Opioid Fentanyl has been rising in popularity over the last several years. The Centre County District Attorney says that they are now seeing it being sold in pills.
It has a lot of appeal due to its cheap prices and high potency, but it can also be deadly.
There have been seven drug related deaths in Centre County so far in 2023. Four of them have involved the use of Fentanyl. The District Attorney says one of the major problems is mixing it with other drugs and how it’s nearly impossible to know if another drug has been laced with Fentanyl.
“You can’t tell, you can’t tell and your neighborhood drug dealer doesn’t always tell you the truth and people think they’re buying one thing and it turns out to be something that has fentanyl-laced in it.”
Dr. Upendra Thaker is one of Mount Nittany Medical Center’s Chief Medical Officers who specializes in pain medication. He says they use Fentanyl when treating patients but the dose is fifty to one hundred times smaller than a normal dose of Morphine. He says that when it is used outside of a medical facility it becomes very dangerous.
“When you take it recreationally without that itration, you’re able to overdose yourself with it. the other big thing is that fentanyl is very cheap and easy to synthesize illicitly.”
Due to how cheap it is to produce and purchase illegally, neither Dr. Thaker of the District Attorney see this problem going away soon.
“Because there’s no substitute and because it’s difficult to get into rehab programs because of lack of availability, insurance coverage, cost, etc. and when you have an addiction it requires specialists to treat that.”
The District Attorney tells me that the Centre County Drug and Alcohol office is primed and ready for individuals to make contact with them to get help.