Opioid crisis grows in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria

Mail Online | 6/26/2014 | Dailymail.com Reporter;Associated Press
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Puerto Rico hasn't been spared from the opioid crisis that has plagued the US mainland - a problem that seems to have grown on the island as a result of a devastating hurricane.

The government is struggling to keep up, and failed to apply for a multimillion dollar US grant that advocates say could have helped save lives.

Overdoses - Deaths - Puerto - Rico - Hurricane

More than 600 fentanyl-related overdoses and 60 deaths were reported in Puerto Rico in 2017, largely before Hurricane Maria, up from 200 and eight the previous year.

While that's much less dire than the crisis in some US states, activists and experts say the problem appears to be expanding rapidly as use of fentanyl, the opioid blamed for much of the problem in the US, spreads more widely here.

US - Drug - Enforcement - Administration - Nonprofit

The US Drug Enforcement Administration and local nonprofit groups also say the official data doesn't reflect the true situation because the island's government is not keeping proper count of deaths and overdoses.

Despite that, the US territory never applied for a $7.8million award from Congress to help get people into treatment. That money was instead divided up among US states.

'It - Lot - Need - Money - Carmen

'It's ridiculous. There's a lot of need for that money,' said Carmen Davila, a nurse who helps drug addicts in rural Puerto Rico.

She worries the number of overdoses will increase, and she questioned the 612 overdoses reported in 2017 by the government.

Times - Testimonies - People - Estimate

'I'd say it's three times that amount based on the testimonies of people we've helped, and that's a conservative estimate.'

One of those people was Jose Carlos Laviena, 35, who suffered a near-fatal experience in an abandoned trailer in Puerto Rico.

Laviena - Type - Heroin - Dealer - Laviena

Laviena had injected himself with a new type of heroin that his dealer was promoting, but the high was so strong that Laviena thought he had overdosed.

'It's truly something super strong,' he...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Mail Online
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