Over the past few years there’s been incessant talk of an opioid epidemic, with specific attention being drawn to the headline-grabbing, bogeyman drug known as fentanyl. Even though the headlines are surely overblown, casting it as a 21st century synthetic black plague, there have nonetheless been many deaths caused by fentanyl, including Prince’s.
Perhaps because of highly publicized overdoses like Prince’s and the recent od of Mac Miller, along with President Trump’s declaration of opioid addiction and overdose as a public health emergency, less people have been picking up the drug. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the amount of new heroin users fell 53% to 81,000 people, in comparison to 170,000 in 2016. Drug overdoses in general have also plateaued. Who’d have thought that the scare tactics work?
Apparently they’re not foolproof, as fentanyl overdoses have continued to increase. More concerning trends were identified by Buzzfeed News in this comically bleak sentence: “methamphetamine use was found to be more popular among young adults 18 to 25 years old and pregnant women reported more opioid, cocaine, and marijuana use.”
Another possibility for the drop in heroin use is that smack could be losing its luster in the eyes of drug users when there are other drugs out there that are simply more effective at getting people high.