Heroin overdoses have become a common theme in many towns across the country. Articles about young teens overdosing from heroin and the impact opiates are having on small communities is growing at a rapid rate. I reside in Ocean County, New Jersey, a place that has been hit very hard by the opiate epidemic. From 2012 to 2013, the number of overdoses doubled reaching over 110 deaths in one year. Our county saw a suspicious link of overdoses from a heroin batch stamped with a “BudLight” logo. The same stamps have been linked to a total of 68 deaths in the tri-state area over the past few months.
The batch that is causing the overdoses is not just stamped with “BudLight.” Other stamps have been linked to the overdoses as well such as: “Theraflu,” “Bud Ice,” “Deisel,” “Coors Light,” and “Income Tax.” These stamps are said to be “cut” or mixed with Fentanyl. When a batch of heroin is “cut,” it means it has other substances added to it in order to increase or decrease its potency. This allows dealers to stretch the drug and make more money by mixing in other substances.
Fentanyl is a strong opioid patch that is over 80 times the strength of morphine and over 40 times the strength of heroin. This drug mixed with heroin will cause the user to receive a much stronger high. The high is one that many addicts will not expect, and can easily result in an deadly overdose. Most heroin users use the same amount of bags per day. Roughly being able to gauge the strength of the heroin and prevent an overdose. This is by no means a safe way of using heroin and every time heroin is used, death is a very strong possibility. For an addict that uses 5 bags per day, when they use the tainted batch, their 5 bags could have the strength of 15-20. You can see how this can quickly lead to an overdose.
This practice by drug dealers is not new. It is common practice for dealers to add different substances to increase their supply of drugs hoping to profit as much as possible. With the price of prescription painkillers skyrocketing, heroin prices have dramatically dropped. This is a cause for major concern. When prices drop as they have, dealers have the ability to add stronger substances so they can charge more money by having a "stronger" and more "powerful" drug. This floods the streets with much more potent bags that are passed through many different dealers, and possibly "cut" multiple times with many different substances.
Most heroin dealers do not use the drugs themselves. They sell it to make money. They do not care what the drug is cut with or how strong it is, they only care about making a profit. Therefore, they will not ask the dealers who they buy from what is in the bags. There is no communication that a certain batch is stronger than another. They sell it like any other bag. What's important to realize is that every bag may have a different amount of drugs in it. An addict can use one bag and be just fine, and the next bag they can overdose on and die.
Using heroin is extremely dangerous. I write many articles about why getting clean will be the best decision one can make. With all the tainted heroin on the streets, I hope this scares at least one person into getting help. If you or someone you know is addicted to heroin, please seek treatment immediately.