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In the shadow of the well-publicized opioid epidemic, another insidious threat is quietly claiming lives: tainted drugs. These lethal substances, often laced with potent opioids like fentanyl, have turned what was once considered a recreational stimulant into a deadly menace.

Goldsboro, NC  police are investigating four deaths in as many days and say tainted drugs may be to blame in some if not all of them.

The police department says, “In recent days, our community has seen a rise in overdoses and deaths related to tainted drugs. Substances like heroin and methamphetamine are being laced with potent and dangerous additives, such as fentanyl, putting users at a higher risk of overdose and death.”

Bad batch of cocaine suspected in fatal Grosse Pointe overdoses

FIVE people died of suspected drug overdose – two of them sisters, all in the same Grosse Pointe, MI neighborhood in one weekend. All connected to the same peer group of 20-something-year-olds. All connected to tainted batches of Cocaine.

Cocaine’s Dark Transformation

The Rise of Cocaine-Related Overdoses

Cocaine-related overdoses took the lives of nearly 14,000 Americans in 2017 alone, marking a 34% increase in just one year1. The situation is expected to worsen as cocaine’s popularity resurges. But what’s driving this alarming trend?

The Fentanyl Factor

The answer lies in the powerful opioid fentanyl, which is increasingly mixed into cocaine. Here’s why this combination is so deadly:

  1. Potency: Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, making even minuscule amounts perilous2.
  2. Stealth Culprit: Fentanyl often lurks undetected in cocaine, posing a particular danger to long-term cocaine users who may be older, sicker, and unaccustomed to opioids1.
  3. The Opiate Virgin: Imagine your body encountering opioids for the first time—it’s akin to being an “opiate virgin.” Fentanyl throws your system a curveball, leading to unexpected and potentially fatal consequences1.

Disproportionate Impact on African Americans

While the opioid epidemic predominantly affects white populations, cocaine-related deaths are rising most precipitously among African Americans. They face an 80% higher fatality rate from cocaine overdoses compared to their white counterparts1. This disparity underscores the urgent need to address this hidden crisis.

The ‘Speedball 2.0’

In the 1970s, a “speedball” referred to a mix of cocaine and heroin. Today, we face a deadlier version: “speedball 2.0”. Fentanyl has transformed every drug it touches into a crisis, amplifying the risks for cocaine users and those who’ve previously used older opioids like heroin1.

A Call to Action

As we grapple with the opioid epidemic, let’s not forget the lives lost to tainted cocaine. Awareness, education, and harm reduction strategies are crucial. If you or someone you know struggles with substance use, seek help promptly. Remember, knowledge can be a lifeline, and together, we can combat this silent killer.

  1. Not Yesterday’s Cocaine: Death Toll Rising From Tainted Drug – KFF Health News
  2. Florida ‘Drug House’ With Enough Fentanyl to Kill 481K People Raided by Police
  3. newsweek

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