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Addicts die after smoking pain-relief patches

TT/Rebecca Martin · 18 Jan 2012, 11:12

Published: 18 Jan 2012 11:12 GMT+01:00

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”This is not acceptable. We have to put a stop to these deaths considering the fact that these patches are in circulation. All of society has to lend a hand,” said Ingmar Nilja of the Halland police to Sveriges Radio (SR).

The patches are manufactured to be used by cancer patients suffering from chronic pain.

They are made to give off the right dose of fentanyl every hour. The addicts, however, get the full dose in one go by eating or – more often - smoking the patch through a bong pipe.

According to experts, the incorrect use of the patch is extremely dangerous, giving users a dose that can be a hundred times more potent than heroin.

“Many who use this stuff, use it instead of heroin. But it is not a substitute, it is much stronger. And it doesn't give a buzz either, it doesn't relax the user like heroin does. It is simply toying with death,” Kaj Knudsen, specialist and drugs expert at the Gothenburg Sahlgrenska hospital, told daily Dagens Nyheter (DN) earlier this year.

Six people in Halland County died in 2011 from using the drug and several others have been admitted at the hospital in Gothenburg after suffering from side effects caused by smoking or eating the patches.

Since the beginning of January, police in Halland have received two more reports of fentanyl-related deaths.

According to police, one of the victims had a legal prescription for the drug.

The use of fentanyl by addicts seems to still be limited to southern parts of the country and the west coast, according to Stewe Alm, analyst at the National Bureau of Investigation (Rikskriminalen).

“From our perspective it is important to see what can be done to stop the handful of doctors who prescribe these and other narcotic-classified products too generously,” Alm told news agency TT.

Story continues below…

Police in southern Sweden are now classifying fentanyl use as the currently most serious drug problem in the area.

“Most of the eight that we suspect died because of the fentanyl patches had a history of drug problems. That is a common denominator,” said Nilja to SR.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:54 January 18, 2012 by mamegoma
Why so stupid?? You use the patch wrong and pay for it...
13:41 January 18, 2012 by bcterry
Another reason why these addicts should be able to obtain their drug legally, and in a controlled situation.

The worse part of drug addiction, is what they have to do to get it.
18:51 January 18, 2012 by Nemesis
Even by Swedish standazrds this is a really stupid thing to do.
19:25 January 18, 2012 by SockRayBlue
Perhaps this is a blessing in disguise. Afteral addicts will eventually find a way to eliminate themselves from the human gene pool thereby automatically donating themselves to local medical schools. Definitely a win-win situation.
20:33 January 18, 2012 by bcterry
Perhaps this is a blessing in disguise. Afteral addicts will eventually find a way to eliminate themselves from the human gene pool thereby automatically donating themselves to local medical schools. Definitely a win-win situation."

Heroin addiction dates back to 3400 b.c., your high hopes are dead in the water.

Compassion, ....... ever heard of it?
00:12 January 19, 2012 by skumdum

Really stupid comment, even by your "standazrds".
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