INGLEWOOD, Calif., June 7, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Prince, world famous songwriter, singer, producer, and consummate showman died at just 57 years of age. Toxicology tests for Prince released last week concluded that the entertainer died from an accidental overdose of the opioid Fentanyl, according to a report by the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office.
While it has yet to be determined whether or not Prince was self-medicating with a doctor's prescription, one fact is known – Fentanyl is an extremely powerful and potentially dangerous drug prescribed cautiously by doctors. It's 25 to 50 times more potent than heroin, 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, and typically prescribed only for cancer patients already on painkillers but experiencing "breakthrough" pain — pain that flares up even with routine pain medication.
Since 2014, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has encountered a dangerous trend – the convergence of the growing synthetic drug threat with the epidemic of opioid abuse currently affecting our nation. In this case, the consequences are deadly when clandestinely-manufactured Fentanyl and Fentanyl derivatives are being added to heroin or replacing heroin altogether on the street.
Possibly fueled by celebrity deaths related to opioid abuse, the media has recently focused increased attention upon the abuse of opioids. Infrequently reported, however, are the positive achievements of interdiction, intervention, apprehension, and, in particular, prevention efforts such as those championed by D.A.R.E. which has been a leader in prescription/over the counter drug abuse education.
As reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, "Despite the ongoing opioid overdose epidemic, past-year prescription opioid misuse (reported in the survey as 'narcotics other than heroin') continued to decline and heroin use is at the lowest rate since the MTF survey began¹." While this progress offers encouragement, D.A.R.E. considers any level of opioid abuse to be excessive.
According to the DEA, Fentanyl is blamed for a spike in overdose deaths in the United States. The illicit market for prescription drugs is considerable in size, which significantly increases the risk that Fentanyl or Fentanyl derivative-laced counterfeit pills will cause more overdoses as they are more readily produced by drug trafficking organizations.
It is imperative that parents are aware of the immediate danger of the rapidly increasing abuse of prescription drugs, in particular, Fentanyl and Acetyl Fentanyl and Fentanyl analogs, characterized as synthetic opioids. Parents should also recognize the importance of disposing of unused, expired and unwanted prescription drugs in their medicine cabinets. A D.A.R.E. Parent Alert with valuable information on Fentanyl is available at http://www.dare.org/parent-alert-fentanyl-abuse/ .
Launched in 1983, D.A.R.E. is a comprehensive K-12 education program taught in thousands of schools throughout America, as well as in 52 other countries. D.A.R.E.'s official mission today is teaching students good decision-making skills to help them to lead safe and healthy lives.
CONTACT: Richard Mahan 310.490.2860
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SOURCE D.A.R.E. America