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Silent killer drug “heroin” wreaks havoc in Miami

Published On: 12-21-2016 in Category: Heroin, Narcan, opioid abuse, Overdose, Substance abuse


“I want to live, I don’t want to die,” screamed 28-year-old Janice Albright, who had overdosed on heroin for the second time. “It’s weird. It’s ridiculous. Everyone is falling down like flies,” said Albright while she was on the verge of passing out.

On any given day, the streets of Miami are full of paramedics armed with naloxone, fighting the ongoing battle against heroin and its deadly consequences. Lately, physicians across the city have reported receiving numerous overdose calls on any given day. “The silent killer is claiming lives on our streets every day,” said Lauren Pastrana, co-anchor of CBS4 News, who was out on the street to make a firsthand assessment of the epidemic. Looking at the gravity of the situation, Wilfredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, said, “We are talking about an average overdose in South Florida every two hours at a rate of 12 victims a day.”

There have been rising cases of heroin use in South Florida, affecting Miami-Dade County, Jacksonville, Orlando and Sarasota, primarily due to the crackdown and subsequent closure of pill mills, which has resulted in a steady influx of heroin from Mexico into the state. Thus, the inability to access prescription opioids, along with the easy availability of cheap heroin, has made it the drug of choice.

According to Captain Archie Vazquez of Miami Fire Rescue Emergency Medical Services, the menace has claimed victims from all walks of life and ethnicities, sparing no one. “Last year we spent $21,000, and this year we’ve spent more than $150,000 on the opiate reversal medication,” said Vazquez.

Heroin epidemic reaches new heights in America

Alarmingly, the surge in overdoses due to heroin laced with fentanyl, a deadly synthetic opioid, is scaling new heights across various states in the U.S. As per toxicologists in Miami-Dade, a total of 85 heroin-related deaths, a 40 percent increase as compared to 2014, and 102 fentanyl-related deaths, a 365 percent rise as compared to 2014, were reported in 2015.

Further, the Mexican drug cartels dominating heroin sales on the streets are known to prepare lethal combinations of fentanyl and heroin, making it one of the major threats to the public health. According to Dr. Diane Boland, director of toxicology at the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office, “heroin has been a ‘constant presence’ in death investigations and fentanyl is increasingly being mixed with it.”

Fentanyl is so powerful that it is, sometimes, used to tranquilize the largest of land mammals, the elephants. The drug has the potential to kill intravenous users even before they remove the needle from their arms. Sadly, the killer drug is often mixed with heroin, which caused numerous deaths in several cities across Florida in 2015.

Battling the menace of addiction

If you or your loved one is battling an addiction to heroin, fentanyl or any other substance, seek treatment immediately. The Miami Drug Treatment Rehab Center can help you get the best addiction treatment programs and embrace sobriety. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 305-615-2028 for more information on different treatment options in your vicinity.

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