The Office of Medical Examiner and Trauma Services has revealed that 582 people lost their lives to drug overdoses in Broward County in 2016, more than double the amount in 2014, and up by 260 deaths from 2015.The latest trend among drug dealers is to lace or replace heroin with fentanyl, carfentanil, and other cheaply made synthetic drugs. In some cases, fentanyl and various synthetics are being laced with other illicit drugs like cocaine, or prescription medications like Xanax. In South Florida, someone overdoses on these powerful drugs every two hours.Fentanyl is a synthethic and many times more potent than heroin. It’s used under very controlled conditions in small amounts for hospital procedures such as colonoscopies. Carfentanil is also a synthetic that is so potent that a just a few salt sized grains can sedate a 6000 to 13,000 pound elephant. It’s estimated to be 100 to 1000 times more potent than heroin. It is not used to treat humans.In many cases, users of these deadly fentanyl and hundreds of other fentanyl derivatives have no idea their drug of choice contains a deadly combination until it’s too late.In the first six months of 2016, 199 drug overdoses were reported in Broward, but by the second half of the year, fentanyl and other drug use had become so endemic that the number had increased by another 383 cases.“If you’re buying heroin or cocaine, or any drug on the streets for that matter, it could be laced with carfentanil or other deadly opiates, and if it is, there’s a very high chance you will die,” said Dr. Craig Mallak, Chief Medical Examiner.More than 100 drug overdose deaths in 2016 were associated with carfentanil.
582 drug overdose deaths in Broward in 2016