Schedule I = Scientific Ignorance = Overdose Death

Almost nothing is known about the specific dangers of fentanyl analogs because they are Schedule I drugs and research is largely prohibited, even on safety. As a result, a dozen fentanyl analogs have killed thousands of Ohioans, yet the medical profession knows close to nothing about why, how much of a drug is lethal or which analogs are more dangerous than others.

DEA controls research on safety. Almost none is done.

Even fentanyl, a Schedule II drug that is legally, is largely a mystery when it comes to overdose death, the than it causes it. But no study has been done on how much fentanyl is in street drugs. That’s a crucial question because people don’t overdose from allergic reactions to fentanyl; they overdose from taking too much fentanyl. How much is the crucial medical question? “Don’t take any” is a moral response to this question, not a medical or scientific one.

Harm Reduction Ohio has published a chart showing how much fentanyl must be diluted for a user to avoid overdose. As far as we know, it’s the only information aimed at making street drugs safer and survivable that has been published. But it covers only fentanyl, not the many common analogs such as carfentanil, acetyl fentanyl and furanyl fentanyl that are common in Ohio.

It’s a scientific disgrace that no research — none, zero — has been done on so many substances that are killing so many. Each analog is different from the Schedule II fentanyl, the nation’s most common anesthetic. Some cause less respiratory depression (the cause of overdoses), others cause more. Each analog has its own profile for pain relief, euphoria, sedation, pupil dilation and so on. The saying “ignorance is bliss” is the opposite of today’s reality in Ohio. In fact, ignorance is death.

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