Fentanyl-laced ‘oxy’ caused Demi Lovato’s overdose; report

It has been reported that singer Demi Lovato’s hospitalisation for a non-fatal drug overdose last month was caused by counterfeit oxycodone pills.

The overdose was originally said to be on heroin, however a TMZ report published on Tuesday this week claims that it was caused by bootleg oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl. Lovato has been honest about her struggles with addiction, and tweeted that she had been six years sober as of March this year. However, three months later, she released a song called ‘Sober’ in which she mentioned that she had relapsed.

Fentanyl was also found in the autopsies of Prince after his death in 2016, and of Tom Petty, in October of last year. In both of these cases, the stars had been prescribed oxycodone, but are thought to have taken knock-off pills that contaminated with fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a powerful opioid that is 80 to 100 times more potent than heroin, and to those who have recently relapsed into drug use or have no tolerance for opioids, it drastically increases the risk of overdose.

This highly dangerous drug is increasingly being encountered in counterfeit opioids and can be bought by the kilogram from countries such as China. It’s not cheap, but the profit margins can be astounding, according to enforcement agencies. 

The US National Institute on Drug Abuse shows that synthetic opioids, mostly fentanyl, were responsible for nearly 50 per cent of opioid-related deaths in 2016, passing prescription painkillers. The number is dramatically increased from 2010, when these opioids were only linked to 14 per cent of fatalities.

Meanwhile, a recent study drilled down into the demographics of lethal fentanyl overdoses, looking at post-mortem data from Indianapolis between 2010 and 2017, and found an exponential rise over the period.

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