Synthetic opioids are human drugs such as fentanyl, as opposed to semi-synthetic opioids such as hydrocodone and oxycodone, or natural opioids such as codeine and morphine
Fentanyl is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin, and just ¼ of a milligram can be deadly. For comparison, a standard low-dose aspirin is 81 mg. If you were to cut that tablet into 324 pieces, one of those pieces would be ¼ milligram
"One thing I would like to highlight is that, despite the large differences in deaths across states, there is no evidence to suggest that there's differences in use, "Kiang said. "What we think is happening is that heroin just continues to get more and more potent in the eastern United States, while heroin [in] has traditionally been this heroin. synthetic opioids. "
Kiang said that if anything, the number of opioid deaths is probably underreported because synthetic opioids require additional testing by a medical examiner. He hopes that testing for synthetic opioids will become standard whenever the cause of someone's death is classified as overdose
"Preventing opioid addiction is necessary for the long term, so that this crisis ultimately comes to an end. means much more cautious prescribing. "
Kiang agrees that there are multiple factors at work. "We need to make treatment at least as affordable, affordable and affordable as heroin," he said. "It would not be harder to get help than it is to get heroin."
CNN's Nadia Kounang has contributed to this report