Though they know that nearly all heroin is laced with the dangerous synthetic opioid fentanyl, many Baltimore users aren’t prepared to prevent or treat fentanyl-related overdoses, a new study finds.
Baltimore has a thriving heroin trade and 1,000 opioid overdose deaths a year.
The study, by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, included 316 people who admitted recent illicit opioid use. All had heard of fentanyl and about 56 percent suspect most or all of Baltimore’s heroin is laced with it.
Nearly 75 percent said they were “quite a bit” or “very worried” about acquaintances overdosing on fentanyl, which is 30 to 50 times more potent by weight than heroin. Fentanyl and related synthetic opioids are the leading cause of drug overdose deaths in the United States — more than 70,000 in 2017 alone.