July 25, 2024
Surge in Fentanyl Smoking

Unseen Dangers: The Surge in Fentanyl Smoking and the Increased Risk of Deadly Overdoses in San Francisco

A new study conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has revealed a concerning trend in the consumption of fentanyl in San Francisco – smoking. With smoking now surpassing injecting as the most prevalent method of using fentanyl, the researchers have identified an elevated risk of fatal overdoses due to the residue that accumulates in smoking equipment.

The study, published in PLOS ONE on May 22, 2023, indicates that individuals are not only intentionally sharing fentanyl resin but also unintentionally consuming it. This sharing behavior, particularly among those who use the equipment to smoke other drugs, such as methamphetamine, and lack opioid tolerance, may significantly increase the risk of overdose.

Daniel Ciccarone, MD, MPH, Justine Miner Professor of Addiction Medicine at UC San Francisco in the Department of Family & Community Medicine, and the study’s first author, likened the risk of overdose from shared smoking Anastomosis Devices to the risk of HIV transmission through shared injection paraphernalia. He emphasized the need for harm reduction-based and culturally sensitive education campaigns to address this emerging risk.

In 2023, San Francisco recorded an all-time high of 806 deaths, with 653 of those being attributed to fentanyl. Although the number of fentanyl-related deaths nationwide saw a modest decline, dropping from 76,226 to 74,702, they remain alarmingly high. Moreover, fatal overdoses from psychostimulants, including methamphetamine and cocaine, are on the rise.

Despite the decline in fentanyl deaths at the national level, the findings from this study underscore the importance of addressing the unique risks associated with fentanyl resin and smoking in the context of the ongoing opioid epidemic.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public Source, Desk Research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it.