New limits on prescription painkillers took effect yesterday. And the state says prescription opioid deaths are down from a peak in 2011, and the number of heroin deaths last year was the same as in 2015. But now, deaths from illicit drugs such as cocaine and meth have spiked.
More than half of drug overdose deaths last year involved the highly-potent opioid fentanyl. Substances like cocaine and meth are more often laced with the drug that can be 100 times more powerful than heroin.
Tracy Plouck, director of mental health and addiction services, says part of the problem is that some people think one drug is safer than another.
“You don’t know what’s in any illicit drug that might be obtained and so the false sense of security that people may have that, ‘oh this is not heroin this is only…’ you know some other substance, including marijuana is setting some folks up for risk that could otherwise be avoided.”
It should be noted that there is no record yet of an overdose case where pot was laced with fentanyl.
Cocaine and meth deaths increased by 61 percent and 142 percent respectively.