Just over 200 deaths were due to the mix of drugs in 2010, as compared to the 34,429 deaths that occurred in 2021
Overdose deaths involving fentanyl mixed with stimulants have increased at a rate of more than 14,550 percent since 2010, a new study has found.
Earlier this week, the peer-reviewed journal Addiction released the study, which detailed that 235 deaths were due to the mix of drugs in 2010, as compared to the 34,429 deaths that occurred in 2021.
Researchers found that the drugs that were commonly used alongside fentanyl changed over time and varied based on the region. In the northeast United States, fentanyl was most often combined with cocaine, the study said, while it was paired most with methamphetamine in the southern and western U.S.
The study also found that ethnic and racial minorities were disproportionally affected by the overdose deaths, including Black and Native American individuals.
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Lead study author Joseph Friedman said in a news release that the mixture of fentanyl and stimulants is a "dominant force" in the overdose epidemic.
"We're now seeing that the use of fentanyl together with stimulants is rapidly becoming the dominant force in the U.S. overdose crisis," he said. "Fentanyl has ushered in a polysubstance overdose crisis, meaning that people are mixing fentanyl with other drugs, like stimulants, but also countless other synthetic substances."
Friedman also noted that the mixture of substances now provides new challenges for health care providers.
"We have data and medical expertise about treating opioid use disorders, but comparatively little experience with the combination of opioids and stimulants together, or opioids mixed with other drugs," he explained. "This makes it hard to stabilize people medically who are withdrawing from polysubstance use."
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.
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