WisContext.org Reports On Use And Tracking Of Synthetic Opioids

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Premiere Date: 
May 12, 2017

WisContext.org Reports On Use And Tracking Of Synthetic Opioids

Scott Gordon, WisContext.org reporter on the use and tracking of synthetic opioids. These are powerful heroin-like drugs -- including the large animal tranquilizer, Carfentanil. Milwaukee saw its first confirmed deaths from it last month. Users can unknowingly ingest these synthetics, and fatally over-dose.

Episode Transcript

Frederica Freyberg:

Journalists there continue their extensive reporting on the use and tracking of synthetic opioids. These are powerful heroin-like drugs including the large animal tranquilizer Carfentanil. Milwaukee saw its first confirmed deaths from it last month. Users can unknowingly ingest these synthetics and fatally overdose. As WisContext reporter Scott Gordon found out toxicology labs like the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene are working to keep up with the novel combination so law enforcement and health officials can understand and prevent their spread.

Scott Gordon:

Wisconsin is seeing more overdose deaths that involve Carfentanil and Fentanyl. But also occasionally seeing more of these synthetic opioids that have a chemical structure very similar to Fentanyl but are just different enough that they might circumvent the usual lab tests for Fentanyl. When people are doing toxicology tests, often they usually go in knowing they're looking for a specific set of things. The thing that's difficult about some of these synthetic opioids they're being illicitly manufactured in a lot of cases. There isn't really a good frame of reference for how much should be in a person's system because they've never been used in normal medical context. And they can be really potent in trace elements. All of which makes it hard for people to keep up when they are doing toxicology testing and trying to track the impact of different drugs around the state.

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WisContext serves the residents of Wisconsin, providing information and insight into issues as they affect the state.