08 Aug Worrying Trends in Drug Use in America Today
This article will explore some of the most worrying drug trends in the US today, providing important insights into the various different types of drugs that are causing health epidemics in America right now.
See how the misuse of these drugs occurs and what steps can be taken to overcome addiction to them; as a result, users may recover and start their new lives after attending an inpatient rehab program.
The Rise of Benzo Dope Misuse
Benzo dope (tranquilizing drugs that are made from a mix of benzodiazepines) is becoming an emerging drug trend within the US that is making its way down from Canada to the US at an alarming rate.
Benzo dope is reportedly representing over half the amount of samples of the drug fentanyl within Canada’s largest city, Toronto. These samples apparently contained a dangerous mix of a range of other drugs, including xylazine, bromazepam, etizolam, and flu alprazolam.
Perhaps the major concern with the rise of benzo dope use is how it reacts in tandem with opioids. Benzodiazepines are a form of sedative medication, and they are commonly prescribed to patients suffering from insomnia or anxiety. However, it has been found recently that where an opioid overdose could last somewhere in the region of 10-20 minutes, a benzodiazepine overdose could last for many hours.
What’s even more concerning is the fact that opioid antagonist drugs such as naloxone do not work in reversing the effects of a benzodiazepine overdose. Moreover, during a benzodiazepine overdose, the patient may actually experience opioid withdrawal symptoms while also experiencing the symptoms of the benzo overdose, all while the naloxone has no effect.
The Fake Xanax Crisis
Counterfeit Xanax is becoming an increasing problem in the US, as it has been found to be the causal factor in several deaths in hospitals across the United States.
The drug is typically used for the purpose of treating chronic pain, particularly with patients suffering from cancer or other pain-related illnesses. However, the fake Xanax pills are reportedly identical to the real drug, but they affect users in a very different way, so it would be easy for people to make a mistake and take the deadly version of the drug.
Fake versions of the drug have apparently been mixed with fentanyl, a particularly strong form of synthetic opioid. Having been mixed with a potent opioid such as fentanyl increases the likelihood of a fatal overdose occurring after use.
The Continuing Rise of Fentanyl Deaths
According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), deaths attributed to fentanyl misuse (and other synthetic opioids) have risen since 2013.
In addition, deaths related to fentanyl overdoses have tripled among US teenagers and have apparently increased 5 times that among black US teenagers. The drug is reported to be at least 100 times stronger than morphine and as much as 50 times more potent than heroin.
According to UNODC World Drug Report 2022, death rates related to fentanyl misuse are estimated to have increased to over 107,000 deaths in 2021, which represents an increase from 2020 of close to 92,000.
Amphetamines Achieving Higher Purity Levels
According to some of the findings contained within the 2022 Global Drug Survey, the increased usage of amphetamines within the US might suggest that production has become far easier, together with the drug reportedly achieving higher levels of purity in comparison to the past, when it has often been considered to have low purity levels.
Higher purity levels for amphetamines could lead to increases in drug overdoses and overdose-related deaths since the drug will be far more potent, and its effects will be far greater and will likely occur much faster.
Continuing Cannabis Legalization and Its Effects on the US
Moreover, cannabis use has skyrocketed, and its availability across the US has increased significantly. According to the NCSL (National Conference Of State Legislatures), as of 2022, 38 states have made medical marijuana legal, and within some of those states, such as California, cannabis has been completely decriminalized, meaning anyone can produce and sell the drug.
Speculators have suggested that this is the most likely reason for the increased usage of cannabis in the US since it is much easier to get access to the drug, and in many states, there are now no consequences for owning, consuming, or selling the drug.
In addition, there have been many reports of increases in suicide-related deaths, hospitalizations, and rises in reported mental health disorders as a result of the increasing use of cannabis in the US, according to the United Nations’ UNODC World Drug Report 2022.
The Increasing Emergence of Synthetic Cannabinoids
Synthetic Cannabinoids (or synthetic cannabis) have reportedly been at the heart of an increasing number of ER accidents and have also been found as the causal factor in a number of deaths via many toxicology reports, according to NPS Discovery.
Elsewhere, NPS Discovery also found that 2% of drug-related deaths in the first quarter of 2022 were a result of synthetic cannabinoids, while 6% were a result of stimulants and hallucinogens, 21% were a result of opioids, and a whopping 71% were a result of benzodiazepines.
Synthetic cannabinoids have been available on the market for medicinal purposes since 2016, but their use has increased significantly since then. Moreover, Dronabinol (a form of synthetic cannabinoids) accounts for around 2/3rds of the overall worldwide market share of synthetic cannabinoids
Where to Seek Help for Addiction
For those suffering from an addiction, there is always support and help from healthcare professionals available. For instance, residential treatment programs (also referred to as rehab) offer an excellent solution for long-term addiction treatments.
If a patient is suffering from an addiction to a drug such as a benzodiazepine, they can gain access to continual 24/7 medical assistance and monitoring from healthcare experts, together with the resources and other forms of support they may require during their recovery process.
Moreover, the patient can reside at the treatment center throughout their recovery process, take advantage of the therapy and counseling solutions on hand and the step-by-step programs that can help people to turn their lives around, prevent future relapse, and begin their new life after recovery.
Elsewhere, more short-term options are available, such as partial hospitalization, which offers patients the ability to gain access to many of the same benefits that are available at a rehab center, but with a shorter stay and perhaps also without the same level of access to healthcare professionals and resources in comparison to rehab.