Waismann Method Medical Group directors have warned of a new naloxone-resistant drug hitting the streets, calling for an awareness program for acrylfentanyl and warning of a serious public health emergency.
Acrylfentanyl is a close analogue of fentanyl. It is believed to be one of the designer drugs manufactured in drug laboratories in China. The drug was involved in two fatal opioid overdoses in Pennsylvaia.
The Drug Enforcement Agency reported both individuals were treated with naloxone, which normally reverses the effects of both legal and illegal opioids, but did not respond to the treatments.
"The emergence of a naloxone-resistant drug like acrylfentanyl is just the latest in a series of opioid-related crises," Waismann Medical Director Dr. Michael Lowenstein said. "However, it could be a tipping point in the opioid epidemic. Unless we are able to more effectively target those who are vulnerable to opioid dependence, we will see a spike in overdose deaths due to acrylfentanyl and related drugs."
Opioid abusers may not know that they are purchasing the potent drug. An illegal drug like heroin may be laced with other drugs, such as fentanyl or acryfentanyl, in an effort to increase its effects. Instead, the added drugs induce an overdose.
"We need an immediate, intense, country-wide awareness campaign," Waismann registered addiction specialist Clare Waismann said. "We must show the very real consequences of these drugs to our young adults to save their lives from impulsive decisions. Furthermore, mental health professionals should be trained to discuss the opioid crisis and made available to discuss this issue in schools. We have the science and resources to battle this epidemic, but now we need to prioritize lives."