Law enforcement officials in North Dakota have issued a warning that marijuana sold in the Bismarck region may be laced with meth and fentanyl. The warning was issued after a Bismarck man ended up in the emergency room after allegedly smoking laced marijuana. The man tested positive for marijuana, meth, and fentanyl. Recently, there have been many concerns about the increasing presence of heroin and fentanyl in Bismarck, North Dakota. Bismarck Police Sgt. Mark Buschena stated, ““Marijuana is probably more widespread used than heroin is, so if people are going to be accidentally ingesting fentanyl, a very low level of fentanyl can be lethal, you know at very low dosages, so that’s pretty dangerous business.”
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid — an anesthetic and analgesic used to manage severe pain typically after a surgery. It is also commonly used to manage chronic pain. Over the last several years, the United States has witnessed an increase in fentanyl-laced heroin across the country. It is often mixed with heroin to achieve a longer lasting high; but unfortunately, fentanyl is often the cause of overdose due to its high potency. The side effects of this synthetic opioid include nausea, vomiting, lethargy, drowsiness, dizziness, difficulty breathing, unconsciousness, and fatal overdose.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 78 Americans die from an opioid overdose each day. In recent years, the nation has seen an increase in overdose deaths, particularly as they relate to synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that between 26.4 million and 36 million people abuse opioids worldwide. And an estimated 2.1 million people in the United States struggle with substance use disorders related to opioids. Also, the amount of unintentional overdose deaths from prescription opioids has more than quadrupled in the United States since 1999. Thus, the country has declared opioid abuse an epidemic.
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