Docs raise Fentanyl fears
Doctors fear Australia is on the verge of a Fentanyl epidemic.
Prescriptions of the supercharged opium-based drug in Australia have increased from 10 million per year in 2009 to 14 million per year at the end of 2017.
NSW Police data suggests more than a quarter of all drug-related deaths are now due to opioids, and almost a third of that figure are specifically from Fentanyl.
Fentanyl is 100 times stronger than morphine and administered via a sticky patch, meaning patients can sometimes forget about it.
Pharmaceutical opioid deaths are now about 2.5 times more common than heroin deaths.
A recent NSW coronial inquest heard that three of the six people who fatally overdosed on opioids in the state in May 2016 had Fentanyl in their system.
NSW Users and Aids Association chief Mary Harrod says recreational drug users are turning to Fentanyl.
“Fentanyl comes from a chemist, so users know what they are getting and they know that it's clean and pure. Most of the time they are getting it off friends or relatives,” she said.
Experts want the drug Naloxone to more readily available to police officers and the relatives of opioid users.
“Naloxone reverses the effects of an overdose, it restores breathing and consciousness on the spot and it really could save so many lives,” Ms Harrod said.
“But it's not always easy to get at a chemist.”