US Faces Fentanyl Invasion – Is Your Company Ready?
Written by Lucas Kibby, CleanFleet
The U.S. is in the middle of an opioid epidemic. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 28,000 people died of opioid overdoses in 2014.
That is more than any past year, and what is one of the most dangerous culprits? Fentanyl.
According to the DEA, China is the primary source of fentanyl sent to Mexico, U.S. and Canada causing 700 people dying between late 2013 and late 2014, according to the DEA. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that between during this time there was an 80% increase in overdose deaths attributed to synthetic opioids, such as Fentanyl.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid which is sometimes prescribed to treat severe pain, such as in cancer patients. Fentanyl is significantly more potent that Heroin (40-50 times stronger) and carries a high risk of overdose.
Fentanyl is flooding across the border in both powder and pill form. According to an article by Newsweek, a drug-sniffing dog perked up at the passenger door of a white Chevy pickup truck at the Tijuana–San Diego checkpoint in July, leading customs officers to almost 6,000 pills labeled oxycodone. Once again, they turned out to be counterfeit pills composed of the dangerous drug, fentanyl.
“We are extremely troubled by the number of fentanyl seizures we’ve seen recently,” San Diego U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said in a statement in late September. She cited three separate arrests of men who tried to drive powdered fentanyl across the border in September, including one who hid 19 pounds of it in a spare tire and another who concealed 33 pounds in a secret compartment.
In fact, the crisis has become an issue on the presidential campaign trail. Republican Donald Trump told a New Hampshire crowd last month, “I’m going to stop the drugs from pouring across the border, and that’s a promise.”
And why did Trump say this in New Hampshire?
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in New Hampshire is projecting 488 people will die this year from drug overdoses and the majority of them will involve fentanyl.
According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, the latest statistics released by the medical examiner, through Oct. 7 there have been 286 people who have died of drug overdoses in the state. Of those, 120 were the result of fentanyl and another 71 were the result of using fentanyl along with other drugs. Eleven people died from a mix of heroin and fentanyl. In all, about 71 percent of all deaths involved fentanyl, according to medical examiner statistics.
Can Companies Screen for Fentanyl with a Urine Drug Test?
Yes, a urine sample can be used to look for Fentanyl during a drug test. It can be detectable in urine for 1-2 days after use but detection times may vary based on a person’s metabolism, how much they took, and other factors.
A positive result will provide a numerical value for the level detected. Most standard drug testing panels do not include testing for Fentanyl so a test which looks for Fentanyl specifically may be required, or can be added to a panel.
Contact CleanFleet today to discuss adding Fentanyl screening to your company’s drug testing policy at 503-479-6082.