It’s not breaking news, in fact, it happened back in March. It was then that the Department of Defense (DoD) directed all service Drug Demand Reduction Program labs to begin testing for both fentanyl and the drug’s metabolite, norfentanyl. It’s 50 times more potent than heroin and tops the potency of morphine by 100 percent!
Sadly, drug dealers make use of the fact that small quantities of the drug get huge results. They use fentanyl to adulterate heroin, cocaine, and other illicit drugs to enhance the effects—often unbeknownst to the user. It increases the overall volume “earning” them a larger profit, of course.
However, if a user doesn’t know their drug of choice has been “cut,” they are at an increased risk of overdose. Someone experiencing the best “insert drug of choice here” high in their life is likely to use again as soon as possible hoping to prolong the event. After all, they know the limits—they aren’t going to go overboard. They have no idea of the risk they’re taking.
Moreover, some dealers completely misrepresent fentanyl and sell it as heroin. The result, of course, can be deadly.
Not so fast there
Sadly, drug dealers are more concerned about the dollar figures and repeat business. Odds are they don’t share much more than the fact that it’s “killer, bro.”
However, they should because it’s literally a killer.
Around the same time that the DoD announced it was adding fentanyl to the test, Merianne Spencer, a statistician for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics said, “We saw the rates doubling each year from 2013 to 2016. These are pretty astounding numbers in terms of the percentage increase per year.”
In 2011 and 2012, fentanyl officially caused about 1,600 overdose deaths a year. There were likely more that went unaccounted. When compared to the 18,000 deaths attributed to the drug in 2016, it’s nothing short of alarming.
This heartbreaking societal trend caused the DoD to consider adding fentanyl to its test panel. When it began to show up in the SFTDTL’s DoD surveillance testing, they made it official and began testing for the drug in June.
Of course, the Department of Defense takes a firm hand in controlling substance abuse among service members. All five military branches conduct random urine drug testing frequently and consider it one of the greatest weapons against drug abuse.
“Illicit drug use by service members is a national security threat and a health and safety concern,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. KatherineDozier, Armed Forces Medical Examiner System Special Forensic Toxicology Drug Testing Laboratory chief. “Many of these drugs have been shown to affect decision-making, risk-taking, and levels of consciousness. For the well-being of every service member and every U.S. citizen they defend, illicit drug use in the military must be taken seriously.”
Military drug tests also identify Spice and K2. These synthetic cannabis products likened to marijuana, contain some of the chemicals that are the same. However, they can cause unpredictable behavior and in some cases, have life-threatening effects.
We don’t use the term “the war on drugs” as a popular catchphrase any longer, but it exists.
It starts at the top.