The Dangerous Effects of Fentanyl Makes This a Life-Threatening Drug
Fentanyl is part of the family of drugs called opioids. Opioids work by attaching to brain receptors which have various bodily responses. When administered as a controlled prescription substance, a feeling of relaxation, pleasure, and pain-relief are experienced by the individual. Fentanyl is reserved for those who require pain relief due to cancer, severe injury, trauma, surgery, or nerve damage. Although the drug has helped individuals through some of the most physically painful times of their lives, it is also a highly addictive and very dangerous drug when it is misused.
Prescription-wise, fentanyl comes in a variety of forms such as intravenous, lozenges, and patches, just to name a few. When prescribed from a doctor, pharmaceutical fentanyl is used for medicinal purposes in order to help individuals manage their chronic or acute pain.
Illicit use of Fentanyl
By extracting fentanyl from a prescription method such as a patch, fentanyl can be injected. This is an extremely dangerous and risky activity that can lead to overdose and death. Fentanyl is highly potent, almost 100 times stronger than morphine, making it a schedule two drug according to the DEA. This means that the drug has a high risk for abuse and may lead to psychological dependence and addiction.
Fentanyl is a very dangerous synthetic drug that is the main contributor to the opioid crisis that is evident in the United States. The death rate as a result of fentanyl rose from 14.3 percent in 2010 to 46 percent in 2016; more than three times higher in only a six-year span. The truth of the matter is that fentanyl is used illicitly on a nation-wide basis and is causing lethality to those who misuse and abuse it.
Purchasing drugs on the street comes with its fair share of risks, one being the fact that many drug dealers ‘cut’ their drugs with cutting agents such as fentanyl; a common adulterate in heroin, oxycodone, and stimulants such as cocaine. Those who purchase drugs on the black market do not know that the drug they just bought is actually cut with a potentially lethal additive, consuming it unintentionally. In turn, there is a high risk of overdose. Just a simple dusting, the equivalent to a few grains of salt, can cause a deadly overdose.
What Makes Fentanyl so Deadly?
Fentanyl works by depressing the individual’s ability to breath which inevitably leads to death. Many individuals who have been prescribed fentanyl for medicinal purposes end up becoming addicted or dependent on the drug. When they do not take the drug, withdrawal symptoms begin to arise. When their doctor no longer prescribes this pain management medication, oftentimes, individuals will resort to illegal versions of the drug such as heroin. Many drug cartels and drug dealers found this as a lucrative way to make money. By banking on those who have a dependency of prescription fentanyl, they saw this as a way to make steady money flow while providing these individuals with exponentially dangerous illegal drugs containing fentanyl.
When someone stops using fentanyl, withdrawal symptoms begin to occur. Individuals will experience everything from vomiting to sweating and increased heart rate to tremors and anxiety.
Recovering From Addiction
Individuals can make a full recovery from addiction through medical detox where FDA-approved medications such as naltrexone and methadone are used. With the proper support and recovery system in place, a full rebound from addiction is possible. If you feel as though you or someone you know may be struggling with an opioid disorder, it’s time to reach out for help.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.