(FOX 11) - Los Angeles County health officials are warning of a growing number of overdoses from the opiate Fentanyl.
For some, the addiction to painkiller grew out of a medical problem. Bob from Los Angeles says he was spending more than $500 a day on his drug addiction.
He was using opiates for back pain. When that didn't do enough for him, he bought Fentanyl, a more powerful opiate -- and says it almost killed him.
''It was one of those situations where I thought about calling 911 and paramedics and losing my job, or waiting it out, it was very scary," he said.
Prescription abuse of Fentanyl is one thing, but there's a whole other chapter to this story which is much more chilling.
Drug cartels are apparently manufacturing a synthetic form of Fentanyl, mixing it with heroin and selling it to unsuspecting users.
According to the experts, Fentanyl is about 50 times stronger than the heroin itself, so the risk of overdose or death is obviously much greater. The Centers for Disease Control report synthetic opiod overdoses, which include Fentanyl, killed 5,500 people in 2014 alone.
Dr. A.R. Mohammad, an addiction specialist who runs a treatment center called Inspire Malib, says that heroin users just don't know what they're getting.
"The risk of overdose is much higher," he warned.
Dr. Mohammad says he's seeing a lot more of it, mirroring a national trend. Of course, the problem with drug use and abuse is that you don't think rationally.
The addiction changes you, so even though you might be risking your life, you do it anyhow.
Copyright 2016 FOX 11 Los Angeles: Download our mobile app for breaking news alerts or to watch FOX 11 News | Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Be a citizen journalist for FOX 11 and get paid – download the Fresco News App today.