How have drugs of abuse changed in the last few years? Elizabeth Tracey reports

February 21, 2022

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Heroin from opium poppies, cocaine from the coca plant. Not anymore, says substance use disorder expert Eric Stain at Johns Hopkins. 

Strain: We’re shifting in our drug use from plant-based drugs of abuse to manufacture-based drugs of abuse. Rather than needing a poppy plant to get an opioid, now all you need is a lab to manufacture fentanyl or carfentanyl or some other fentanyl analog. And similarly, rather than needing a coca plant to make cocaine now all you need to do is have a lab where you can make methamphetamine. And so that’s changing the landscape of the delivery of drugs.  :31

Strain says the most recent CDC data tallying over 100,000 overdose deaths in the US in the past year reflect the fact that drugs people are using are frequently unknown, without a history to guide either users or those who would intervene to reverse overdoses. And sadly, many of them are much more potent than their naturally occurring counterparts, so overdose is also more likely. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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