for the rest of their earthly lives. “Every time I was in rehab I was good, you know,” says one recovering addict on The Fix. “It was when I came home, then the old feelings come back and you see, like, a Dunkin’ Donuts and you remember getting high at that Dunkin’ Donuts. People, places, and things are a big trigger for people like us.” I’m not really afraid of dying from this. Honestly, sometimes it just seems easier. —Megan, in a CNN Interview C ompounding the prescription abuse crisis is that in its wake is a wave of illicit drug use that is far more dangerous than most communities have ever seen. A number of factors make the opioid drug scene so lethal: ̈ When prescriptions run out and doctors refuse to prescribe more pills, addicts turn to heroin, which is much cheaper and more readily avail- able, but illegal and unregulated. ̈ According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), overseas labs in China are mass- producing opioid compounds and marketing them to drug trafficking groups in Mexico, Canada, and the United States. ̈ Illegal pills are made to look like the regulated prescription counterpart, but they are often laced with more lethal chemicals, and often unbeknownst to the user. ̈ In some cases, legitimate production laborato- ries in the U.S. legally purchase chemicals from Chinese companies, and then run a highly profitable illicit drug-manufacturing ring on the side. Carfentanil is so powerful most vets and zoos keep less than 20 grams of it around at any time. Dogs that catch a whiff of it can die instantly. —The Drug Enforcement Agency A t the heart of the illicit drug epidemic is fentanyl, a synthetic opioid which is 50 times more lethal than heroin. Chances are that most heroin these days is cut with fen- tanyl, which intensifies and accelerates the high, and oftentimes, the buyer has no idea of the addi- tive. Pills on the streets are manufactured to look just like their prescription counterparts, are often more addictive, and certainly are deadlier. The longer an addict uses opioids, the harder it is to achieve a high, so the more powerful versions of the drugs become in high demand. 10 WWW.AGRM.ORG JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018