Fentanyl is the deadliest drug in America, new test strips for t - FOX34 Lubbock

Fentanyl is the deadliest drug in America, new test strips for the opioid emerge

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

The number of total drug overdoses has jumped 54 percent each year between 2011 and 2016. 

According to a new report by the Center for Disease Control, fentanyl is the drug most commonly found in these overdoses, amounting to 18,335 deaths. 

"I don't know how and why people always get addicted, but when they get addicted to something, you want them to take something that's not going to kill them," George Comiskey, Texas Tech Associate Director of Addictive Disorders, said.

Fifty to a hundred times more powerful than morphine, the CDC reported 29 percent of all opioid overdose deaths in 2016 involved fentanyl. 

"Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid and what it does is it shuts the body down. It's used for pain reduction, but as it goes into the system, it stops the body from fully forming a full functioning body," Comiskey said.

As a result, new strips testing for fentanyl in other drugs have emerged. 

However, many health care professionals are split on what this means in the fight against abuse.

"I think harm reduction when you have a drug that's out there that can be manufactured in a lot of different ways and cut in with different things, I think it's important. The negative is it may give people permission to use it at a greater extent. The thing about it is, somebody is not going to stop until they make the decision to stop using," Comiskey said.

In addition, President Trump is praising the possibility of executions in China for fentanyl pushers.

Yet, even with a legal crackdown on fentanyl, Counselor George Comiskey said containing this crisis will be just as difficult. 

"Is that going to stop people from getting it? Probably not. What it's going to do is make people sneakier. That's what we saw from Prohibition. Prohibition didn't stop people from drinking, it just made people sneakier with their drinking. So this is just going to make it go underground. People are going to craftier with how they create it and put it out there," Comiskey said.

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