In the last few days, there’s been a ton of press about the big surge in overdose deaths related to Fentanyl – an opioid that’s exponentially more powerful than heroin. Kevin Deutsch detailed newly released numbers from the Suffolk County Medical Examiner in a New York Times story earlier this week and local media outlets like News 12 and FIOS picked it up from there.
The awareness and attention to Fentanyl is important, but when will we stop chasing the drug du jour? First it was Oxycontin, then heroin, now Fentanyl. As we up the ante and talk about how powerful Fentanyl is, are folks left to believe that heroin isn’t as dangerous or is fading in popularity?
And as we talk about “bad batches” of heroin that are contaminated with Fentanyl and god knows what else, are we inadvertently suggesting that there are actually “good” batches of heroin that are somehow safer?
It’s not the drugs that are killing folks, it’s the disease of addiction and by parsing out individual deaths due to Fentanyl, heroin, cocaine – and alcohol, for that matter – we are missing the common denominator that must be addressed before we will begin to see progress.