(NaturalNews) A new deadly designer drug has hit the streets of America, and other countries across the globe, that experts say is five to 15 stronger than heroin, according to a new study in theAnnals of Emergency Medicine. The drug is particularly worrisome because of its inability to be detected. In fact, it masks itself as heroin, preventing or delaying proper treatment in overdose cases.
Acetyl fentanyl is an opioid analgesic with no recognized medical uses that produces altered mood, drowsiness, miosis, cough suppression, constipation and respiratory depression, according to new studies. It shortly gained some popularity in the late 1980s but has become more popular over the last decade.
Experts warn that drug users might be unaware of its existence, as it's commonly mixed with heroin and other street drugs to produce a much stronger high. It can also be sold in pills disguised as oxycodone, according to a report by Live Science. Acetyl fentanyl overdose causes shallow breathing, slowed heart rate and lethargy
The deadly opiate is typically taken intravenously, often serving as a direct substitute for heroin and other pharmaceutical-grade opioids.
Because acetyl fentanyl is relatively new, and symptoms of an overdose appear eerily similar to those of a heroin overdose, physicians often administer the wrong treatment dosage, which in some cases has resulted in fatalities.
"What's frightening about this emerging street drug is that users themselves may not be aware that they are ingesting it," said John Stogner, Ph.D., the new study's lead author.
"A patient may report heroin use and have symptoms consistent with heroin overdose, but an emergency physician may find that the standard dose of antidote (naloxone) doesn't work," said Stogner.
"Larger or additional doses are necessary when acetyl fentanyl is responsible. It's never good to lose time between overdose and treatment."
Clusters of acetyl fentanyl-related drugs have been reported in several states in recent years. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) identified 1,013 deaths caused by the designer drug in New Jersey; Maryland; Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, according to the CDC.
Acetyl fentanyl has never been approved or licensed for medical use, and its legality isn't exactly clear. While it's considered illicit for human consumption, it's not regulated if labeled "not for human consumption," a loophole which many seasoned drug dealers are taking advantage of.
A press release by the American College of Emergency Physicians states, "A large quantity of acetyl fentanyl would potentially be immune to regulation as long as it was titled, labeled and stored as a product with industrial or non-human research purposes." Deadly street drug is legal, but selling pot can earn you the death penalty
A drug deadly enough to cause respiratory depression and death is technically legal; meanwhile, the federal government is continuously locking up those in possession of marijuana for extended periods of time. And in many cases, victims of prosecution are abiding by their own state's laws.
Despite campaign promises, President Obama has waged an outright war on both legal recreational marijuana and medical pot, incarcerating millions for victimless crimes, all in the name of the fake "War on Drugs."
Pot possession under federal law is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine for the first offense. Second offenses carry a mandatory 15 days in jail and two years in prison. If you're caught selling any amount of weed less than 50 kilograms, you could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to Legal Match, and the penalties get much worse for anything above that.
The federal government can even administer the death penalty for marijuana sale if the amount distributed exceeds 60 metric tons or an annual income of more than $20 million earned from pot sales.