Fentanyl and The Opioid Crisis
Even with opioid addiction gaining national attention, overdose death rates from synthetic opioids (other than methadone) have more than doubled, driven by illicitly manufactured fentanyl.
What is Fentanyl and Why is it Leading the Opioid Crisis?
Fentanyl is an opioid, prescribed to treat pain with the terminally ill and also used for surgical anesthesia. Even when prescribed by a doctor, fentanyl has a high risk for addiction and abuse potential. It is 80 to hundreds times stronger than morphine and usually is only prescribed to opioid tolerant patients. A person who experiments with fentanyl or uses it recreationally has a high risk of overdose.
Fentanyl is also being made illegally. Because on the street it is cheap and easily accessible and the most highly potent, it is mixed into other drugs. One such drug fentanyl is being cut with is heroin. The result is a more potent and bigger batch of heroin that costs less and gives a powerful high. This high can cause nausea, respiratory depression, unconsciousness and death. Fentanyl mixtures can be hundreds of times more powerful than heroin, making it extremely dangerous and deadly. Fentanyl is not only being mixed with heroin, but is also being cut with cocaine, Xanax, and other prescription drugs contributing to increases in overdose deaths of other substances.
The Truth About Addiction and Fentanyl
Sadly, a person in the grips of addiction is not concerned if they have received drugs that may have fentanyl mixed in them. Anyone seeking a high from heroin, oxycodone, Xanax, or any other prescription drug may not know that the “powder” or pill they have has been cut with fentanyl. These counterfeit pills look like the real thing and there is no way the addict can tell the difference.
Signs and Symptoms of Overdose:
- Dizziness and fainting
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Severe confusion
- Extreme fatigue or altered level of consciousness
- Shallow or difficult breathing
- Cardiac arrest
If you recognize any of these symptoms, seek emergency help immediately.
Help is Available
If you or a loved one is suffering for opioid abuse, it is more dangerous than ever because you don’t know what you are actually taking and the consequences can be deadly. Please don’t be a statistic. Contact A.M.C. of Columbus or A.M.C. of Nashville today. Your call is confidential.