Fentanyl-Laced Cocaine: An Increasing Problem in the U.S.

fentanyl-laced cocaine

Recent news reports from National Public Radio, ABC News, and others have been warning the public about a dangerous new drug mixture that has been linked to an increasing number of deadly overdoses: fentanyl-laced cocaine.1

Although researchers and law enforcement officers have long known about the extreme dangers of fentanyl, it’s now becoming more of a concern as drug traffickers and dealers mix it with cocaine.

Deaths Involving Fentanyl-Laced Cocaine are Increasing in States Around the U.S.

Opioid and stimulant drug mixtures are notoriously dangerous, but fentanyl can be 50 times more powerful than heroin. Many drug users are now unknowingly ingesting this drug with what they think is cocaine, which greatly increases their risk of a fatal overdose.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that opioids (including fentanyl, heroin, and prescription opioid drugs) represented 63 percent of the 52,000 drug overdoses in 2015. That equates to 91 opioid overdose deaths per day.2 States all across America are continuing to see an increase in fentanyl and cocaine overdose deaths.

  • In Connecticut, the number of fatal overdoses involving cocaine and fentanyl together has increased 420 percent in the past three years alone.3
  • In Massachusetts, state police recorded three times the amount of cocaine-laced fentanyl being sold on the streets since 2016.3
  • The DEA also reports 7 percent of cocaine seized in New England in 2017 included fentanyl, which is a 4 percent increase from 2016.3

The cocaine and fentanyl problem isn’t just confined to the New England states though. Similar data is not available for the entire U.S., but other states are experiencing similar problems. Ohio, for example, is clearly suffering.

  • In Butler County, Ohio (north of Cincinnati), cocaine-related deaths have doubled over the past five years and the county coroner said the deaths primarily involve fentanyl mixes.1
  • Franklin County overdose deaths during the first nine months of 2017 had already exceeded the number of fatal overdoses seen in 2016, with severe increases in meth and cocaine-related deaths.1
  • Cuyahoga County cocaine overdose deaths also increased in 2017, from 666 in 2016 to an estimated 822. Most of those overdoses involved fentanyl.1
  • The Hamilton County coroner also reported more cases of fentanyl-laced cocaine and the county’s overdose numbers increased 31 percent in 2016.1
  • Cocaine-related deaths in the state of Ohio increased 62 percent in 2016. Most of these deaths involved fentanyl and opioids.4
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    Risk of Overdose for Cocaine Users and Others

    Although illicit drug dealers and manufacturers have used fentanyl to cut other opioid drugs for years, mixing it with cocaine—a notorious party drug—could potentially put many more unsuspecting drug users at risk for fatal overdose.

    Fentanyl-laced cocaine is a deadly drug mixture for anyone that uses it, but cocaine abusers are particularly vulnerable to the risk. Law enforcement officials speculate that dealers are adding fentanyl to cocaine because it is more cost-effective for them and it makes the drug more addictive. As a result, cocaine abusers will need to take more and more of the drug each day.

    Unaware of the added danger, cocaine users are much more likely to overdose as they take increased amounts of the laced drug daily. Even just one dose of the drug combination could prove fatal.

    Getting Help for Cocaine and Fentanyl Abuse

    Cocaine and fentanyl abuse can easily overtake a person’s life and even lead to death, but it’s not too late to get help. Full recovery is possible with professional treatment. Just as with any addiction problem, medically-assisted drug detox is the safest and most effective first step in a comprehensive addiction treatment program.

    The medical and clinical staff at Briarwood Detox Center are ready to help you begin your recovery. Unfortunately, fentanyl abuse in the U.S. is increasing and the risk for overdose continues to be high, but by enrolling in a medically assisted detox program, you can safely eliminate all drug use from your life and achieve a state of sobriety and stability.

    Once you have completed your drug detox program, your treatment team at Briarwood will also help you prepare for entry into a rehab program that appropriately addresses your needs. Although detox is only the first step to achieving a life of sobriety, it is an essential part of the overall recovery process.

    To learn more about our drug detox programs for fentanyl and cocaine, please call Briarwood Detox Center today. We’re happy to provide more information, verify your insurance benefits, and help you enroll if you choose to.


    1. http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/drugs-creating-deadly-mixtures-raise-ohio-tolls-54175389
    2. https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2018-07/DIR-040-17_2017-NDTA.pdf
    3. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/03/29/597717402/fentanyl-laced-cocaine-becoming-a-deadly-problem-among-drug-users
    4. https://www.odh.ohio.gov/-/media/ODH/ASSETS/Files/health/injury-prevention/2016-Ohio-Drug-Overdose-Report-FINAL.pdf

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