As harrowing and heartbreaking as it is to admit, America has found itself in a massive drug epidemic not seen previously in history. The opioid crisis has sadly taken more lives than any previous epidemic and affects almost every aspect of life for many Americans.


According to the website for The National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than “90 Americans die after overdosing on opioids every day” and the epidemic isn’t only costly in terms of human lives either. To handle this number of individuals addicted to these very harmful substances along with criminal justice involvement and healthcare costs related to overdoses or injuries, America spends close to $78.5 billion a year on this tragic epidemic.


Due to various actions by the pharmaceutical companies that range from downplaying the addictivity of opiates to doctors themselves over prescribing, an estimated 2.1 million Americans are addicted to opiates and that number is expanding rapidly.


Opioids themselves are a wide variety of drugs that span several substances that could be both prescribed and illegally abused on the street. More often than not, those who become addicted start off by simply being prescribed a pain medication from a healthcare provider and from there began abusing much harder and unregulated drugs. Opioids could be considered everything from an OxyContin prescription to black tar heroin to a insanely dangerous drug that’s been arguably the most deadly substance of the epidemic.


Fentanyl, a drug that’s on average about 75 times more powerful than morphine and up to 100 times more powerful than heroin, was produced in 1960 but it’s recently become infamous for killing legendary guitarist and musician Prince in April 2016. Although in total, fentanyl was responsible for over 20,000 fatal overdoses in 2016, which was a rise of over 540 percent over the past three years.


(CBS News)

Another frightening aspect of fentanyl is the possibility of other drugs being laced with it. Stories from many different cities are being reported on fentanyl being found in popular drugs including most notably anti-anxiety medication Xanax. Fentanyl-laced Xanax was reported all the way back in 2015 in San Francisco when eight drug users were hospitalized and one user died when they ingested the counterfeit pills.


Fentanyl-laced Xanax came into the news again when tragically, emo rapper Lil Peep was found dead in Phoenix on November 15. Born Gustav Ahr, Peep became known throughout SoundCloud for his deeply impactful lyrics discussing drug addiction as well as depression and mental illness. He was a pioneer in the “emo rap” subgenre and was equally as known for his peculiar fashion choice.


When Peep’s death was reported last month, many suspected an overdose given his open admittance to using many different types of substances. Those assumptions were tragically proven correct when the autopsy results stated the cause of death as an overdose of fentanyl and alprazolam, an off-brand version of Xanax.


It’s certainly unsettling that Lil Peep died at the young age of 21 and to such a dangerous mixture of drugs, but his lyrical and musical ability will certainly not be forgotten anytime soon.


Were you a Lil Peep fan? Tell me about it at @CaptainKasoff.