Avoiding the Fentanyl Trap
Every few years a drug takes center stage as the most “lethal” substance of abuse. Pharmaceutical and illicitly-produced fentanyl and fentanyl analogs are poised to earn that title. Although fentanyl has been around since the late 1950s, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration reports that in recent years, illicit use has created an unprecedented and continuous spike in the drug overdose death toll.
At 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine and 40 to 50 times more potent than 100% pure heroin, Fentanyl is considered to be the one most potent drugs available. Fentanyl becomes even more deadly when used in combination with heroin or other toxic substances. In fact, Fentanyl has already exceeded concerns associated with heroin and cocaine for law enforcement, the medical community, and Drug Enforcement Administrators.
The differentiating factors that make Fentanyl such a high-risk substance of abuse are:
- Most people who use Fentanyl for the first time are ignorant of the fact that they are consuming this drug. Fentanyl provides a cut-rate way for drug dealers to ramp up the impact of a variety of drugs including already highly toxic substances like heroin and cocaine which is the most frightening aspect of fentanyl abuse because it fuels an illicit drug trade driven by potency and profit. For example; approximately 12 people died in Sacramento, Calif., after reportedly taking counterfeit Norco pills laced with fentanyl.
- Up to 30 different analogs have been found in illicitly produced fentanyl drug supplies and, this makes the impact on end-users extraordinarily unpredictable and dangerous.
- The death toll has increased more rapidly than its predecessors. According to county health departments nationwide, fentanyl overdose fatalities increased nearly 600 percent from 2014 to 2016. Fatal overdoses in some cities went from 582 in 2014 to 3,946; just one year later.
- Some strains of fentanyl may be immune to the lifesaving effects of Narcan (Naloxone) which is a narcotic drug used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
- Inhaling or touching some strains of fentanyl can be fatal. Pharmaceutical Fentanyl which administers drugs transdermally may contain up to 100 micrograms. Victims who encounter a fentanyl product of exponentially higher potencies through ingestion or touch are at 100% risk.
While the death of a drug overdose presents the worst outcome for a drug user, cravings create the most irresistible lure that put drug users at continuous risk of coming into contact with fentanyl. The symptoms that a body lusting after drugs can experience include vomiting, diarrhea, profuse sweating, intense cramping and paralyzing anxiety to name a few. People in addiction will and often do anything they can to alleviate their suffering including consuming unknown toxic substances such as fentanyl. As a result, fentanyl is frequently combined with illegally manufactured substances sold to heroin, pain pill or anti-anxiety drug consumers.
Nickname China White and Apache fentanyl have also been referred to as a “stealth” or serial killer substance. In a nationwide warning, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) describe it as one of the most potent opioids available today. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has also posted multiple warnings concerning this drug. With this in mind, if you or a loved one has a drug abuse problem that could put you at risk of illicit exposure to Fentanyl it may be time to seek substance abuse treatment.
West Palm Beach Drug Treatment Center
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