Fentanyl is a powerful drug that is manufactured pharmaceutically and illegally. This is a dangerous drug for many reasons, including the potency, the risk of overdose, and the way it is used to lace other drugs. If you or a loved one is addicted to drugs, fentanyl can be a silent killer. Not only is it important to educate yourself and know the facts, but seek out treatment when needed.
What is Pharmaceutical Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. This pharmaceutical is used to treat extreme pain for patients who are suffering from cancer, surgery, as well as other severe ongoing pain. Under the supervision of a doctor, fentanyl can be a miracle for patients suffering from debilitating pain.
Why is Fentanyl So Dangerous?
Fentanyl can be manufactured and sold illegally, which is extremely dangerous. Due to its extreme potency, it can be all too easy for users to overdose. The other problem is that drug dealers will use fentanyl to lace heroin, cocaine, or other drugs to increase the potency and effects.
Users and addicts often don’t know that fentanyl is in their drugs, consequently making the chance of overdose even greater. Mixing or consuming fentanyl with other drugs or alcohol increases the chance of overdose as well. This creates a dangerous and unpredictable gamble for addicts and drug users.
The Facts About Fentanyl Overdoses and Deaths
Overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids, including Fentanyl, increased by upwards of 16% from 2018 to 2019. Overdose deaths containing synthetic opioids increased by roughly 12 times in 2019. Thus, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths. Unfortunately, this increase in overdose deaths is only accelerating.
These overdoses occur because fentanyl is a highly potent respiratory depressant. This means that the individual’s breathing slows or stops, decreasing the amount of oxygen in the brain. This is known as Hypoxia, which leads to coma, permanent brain damage, and death.
Naloxone or NARCAN is a medicine that can treat an opioid or synthetic opioid overdose immediately. Due to the potency of fentanyl, it sometimes requires multiple doses of Naloxone to treat an overdose. If you suspect someone is overdosing, call 911 right away. Medical professionals carry Naloxone with them to provide this life-saving treatment.
Some states, including Florida, allow pharmacists to dispense NARCAN without a prescription to help combat the rise in overdose deaths. Therefore, if you or a loved one is susceptible to opioid overdoses, keeping NARCAN with you can be the difference between life and death.
Addiction and substance abuse for many is a slippery slope. Although many individuals may start with a valid opiate prescription after a surgery or procedure and become addicted.
However, once that prescription runs out, an individual may start looking for the drug elsewhere. Pharmaceutical opiates are very expensive on the street. This is due to the opioid epidemic and the government cracking down on pill mills. As well as, disproportionate prescriptions made by doctors.
This can cause an individual to seek that high from heroin or fentanyl. Street heroin is cheaper than pills and produces a stronger high. As the addict continues to build a tolerance, they may move on to abusing street fentanyl. This can put the individual at very high risk for overdose and other detrimental side effects.
The effects of fentanyl are strong and can be fairly obvious to spot. If you’re concerned about a loved one, look for these symptoms:
- Euphoria or extreme happiness
- “Nodding out” or unexplained drowsiness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Confusion or disorientation
- Problems breathing
- Itchiness, frequent scratching
There Is Hope
It’s important to seek help right away if you or a loved one is suffering from addiction. Addiction, when left untreated, can wreak havoc on physical and mental health. Many individuals with substance abuse disorder lose their jobs, become financially destitute, have strained or failed relationships, as well as overdosing or dying.
Don’t wait, the professionals at Harm Reduction Center in Boynton Beach, Florida are ready to help.
Harm Reduction Center is a private healthcare facility in South Florida that provides individualized service for its clients. Their goal as a provider is to empower, as well as support their client’s recovery. They recognize recovery looks different for everyone and will stand by you as you or your loved one walks this journey.