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Mixed Drug Overdoses are Common in North Carolina
Many people have heard about the four prominent comedians in California who overdosed on a deadly mixture of fentanyl-laced cocaine. While the addition of fentanyl to “upper” type drugs like cocaine isn’t new, it’s been uncommon up until the past year. California is just one state that has faced an uptick in overdoses due to mixed drugs. North Carolina, too, has faced more mixed-drug overdoses in the past year than ever.
75% of Drug Overdose Deaths in North Carolina Involve Multiple Drugs
Sadly, research back in June highlighted the deadly trend of drug mixing leading to overdose deaths in North Carolina. While most commonly found as an additive in heroin, fentanyl, a drug that is at least one hundred times as strong as morphine, has increasingly been discovered in overdose deaths. Carfentanil, its distance cousin, has also been found. The drug was meant as an elephant tranquilizer; it’s ten thousand times as strong as morphine.
For people who are not "hardcore", veteran opioid users, accidental use of these opioids are more than their system can tolerate.
Some drug users, according to Alicia Brunelli, an outreach worker with the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, may purposefully take an upper when they’re worried that an opioid has fentanyl in it. Many substance users mistakenly believe that an upper like cocaine or speed can counteract an overdose on opioids. Sadly, this can lead to heart attacks or death.
What About Harm Reduction?
Many people with substance use disorders can use harm reduction tools. There are programs that offer needle exchanges, fentanyl testing strips, and Naloxone, which can help reverse an opioid overdose. These are great organizations that can be a lifeline for a person who is struggling with substance use. Some therapists are also willing to see clients even if they’re not ready to stop using substances immediately.
No harm reduction is failsafe, especially when a person is using multiple substances. Naloxone, for example, can only reverse the opioid part of an overdose. If a person has mixed drugs, this means that there is a chance the overdose can’t be reversed. Of course, calling 911 and getting help can significantly impact the outcome. All harm reduction tools can help save lives, but there is no 100% way for a person to continue using drugs “safely”.
Harm reduction can help a person day-to-day, but addiction is a dangerous and progressive disease. Staying alive and getting help for your addiction can help you reclaim your life and start really living again.
Getting Help for Addiction
If you or somebody you love struggles with opioid use disorder, there is hope and help available with evidence-based medicine like Medication-Assisted Treatment. We can help you learn more about your options for getting help. We offer convenient virtual appointment options as well. Give us a call at 910-295-7246 to learn more.
We can help you reclaim your life!
If you are in need of help, please call us at: 910-295-7246 or message us.