Understanding the Dangers of Fentanyl

Fentanyl is classified as a synthetic opioid, which means it was made in a lab. The drug’s potency is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. It contributes to a decent majority of drug overdoses in the United States. Even if prescribed fentanyl, there’s a high risk of addiction. Prescribed or pharmaceutical fentanyl is primarily used for patients in severe pain after surgery or cancer. WhiteSands drug rehab treatment offers programs and medically assisted detox to those suffering from the dangerous side effects of fentanyl addiction.

Fentanyl’s Impact on Communities in Florida


Florida Public Health’s department reported an alarming number of overdoses from fentanyl. Over 6,000 people overdosed on illegal fentanyl in Florida in 2020. Most of the overdoses from fentanyl have resulted in fatalities. The overdosing of fentanyl has only increased throughout the years in Florida, increasing access to the drug. Government officials in Florida are finally trying to crack down on fentanyl regulation and more and more Florida counties are coming out with warning statements about fentanyl use and abuse. Fentanyl hasn’t just affected the people in Florida who have lost their lives to overdosing on the drug but it has affected their families and loved ones who now have to live without them. 

 Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms

When someone begins to overdose on fentanyl some common symptoms occur. The symptoms that happen during the fentanyl overdose are: falling asleep or losing consciousness, constricted pupils, limp body, cold and clammy skin, and discolored skin around the lips and nails. Unfortunately, when consuming other illegal drugs, it’s very possible it could be laced with fentanyl. Fentanyl is tasteless, odorless, and you can’t see it through the naked eye. If someone is going through overdose symptoms, it will only be a matter of time before the symptoms turn into a deadly experience. It’s crucial to call 911 and get the help needed during an overdose. It’s important to get the fentanyl treatment you need. 

 Fentanyl Laws in Florida

Since fentanyl overdosing and selling in Florida has become an even bigger issue, Florida has started to crack down on federal laws regarding trafficking the drug. In Florida, you can face up to 7 years for a minimum sentence for 4 to 14 grams of trafficked fentanyl. If someone is trafficking up to 14 to 28 grams of fentanyl then they will receive a sentence of 15 to 20 years. Carrying fentanyl under those specific conditions is considered a second-degree felony. Besides serving time in prison, you will also have at a minimum a $10,000 fine you have to pay. This new update in fentanyl laws just shows how prevalent the fentanyl epidemic in Florida is. 

 Fentanyl Abuse in Florida

Specifically in Florida, fentanyl abuse has been the largest synthetic drug people are overdosing on. The increase in fentanyl overdoses in South Florida isn’t surprising as it’s considered a “booming drug hub”. Fentanyl became even more prevalent from 2017 to 2018 when it rose to 35 percent of overdoses in Florida alone. The National Institute of Drug Abuse states that Florida counts for about 25.1 deaths per 100,000 people, compared to the national average of 21.7. Unfortunately during the COVID-19 pandemic, it became even more increasing trends of fentanyl overdoses and deaths in the state of Florida. 

 Fentanyl Addiction Treatment Options in Florida

Since Florida is the state with an increasing amount of fentanyl overdose deaths, there are treatments in Florida to help people who abuse fentanyl. WhiteSands Treatment is a top facility for fentanyl addiction treatment. There are many different locations around the state of Florida. The Fort Myers, Tampa, and Hyde Park locations are the only ones that are inpatient facilities and offer patients 24/7 treatment and care. Regardless of inpatient or outpatient treatment services at WhiteSands Treatment, all patients going through fentanyl addiction and overdose will have to receive a medically assisted treatment detox. When detoxing from fentanyl at WhiteSands Treatment, the doctor will replace fentanyl with Suboxone, methadone, or buprenorphine.  These medications help to reduce the feeling of cravings and withdrawal from fentanyl. These medications gradually get reduced in dosages to slowly become less and less dependent on fentanyl and the detoxing-aid medications. Since fentanyl is a short-acting opioid, withdrawal symptoms can happen 8 and 24 hours after last taken. The withdrawal symptoms can last between 4 and 10 days.

After successfully and safely weaning off fentanyl through detox and medications, your tolerance level will decrease exponentially. It depends on how much fentanyl was consumed in the past per patient. That will determine how high or low a dose of the medications is to help with withdrawal symptoms and detoxing. The withdrawal symptoms someone can get after detoxing from fentanyl are hot and cold flashes, teary eyes, running nose, muscle aches and stiffness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, insomnia, and anxiety. 

Fentanyl Awareness Campaigns in Florida

The Florida Department of Health pushed out a fentanyl awareness campaign on May 10, national fentanyl awareness day. As part of recognizing the national day, the Florida Department of Health reminds state residents that in 2022 Florida alone had over 5,900 fatal overdoses. This is to show how fatal and dangerous fentanyl is and that it’s important to be aware of what you’re consuming. Since Florida is known to be the center of drugs, it’s not a surprise there’s such an uprising in fatal overdoses of fentanyl in the state alone. These types of awareness campaigns not only remind Florida residents of the risks involved but also that there are places around the state that can achieve fentanyl addiction recovery in Florida. 

The Rise of Fentanyl-Related Deaths in Florida

From the height of the pandemic in 2020, more than 6,150 people died from fentanyl overdose in Florida. The number continues to grow year after year with the ease of getting fentanyl in Florida. According to the CDC, in 2021, over 8,000 Floridians in Duval County (Jacksonville area) died of a fentanyl overdose. That’s only accounting for a single county in Florida, which shows that there are even more people dying from fentanyl overdose in Florida just in different counties in the state. This makes it even more important to find rehab programs in Florida to treat and reduce the number of fatalities from overdosing on fentanyl. 

 Fentanyl and its Connection to Other Drugs

Illegally made fentanyl can be mixed with other drugs, which makes the potency much higher and much more dangerous. Fentanyl is commonly mixed with heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. They are made to look like pills and resemble other opioids. Fentanyl-laced drugs are very hard to even know they have it in them due to being disguised as something else. When this happens, people might not even know that they are consuming fentanyl and can potentially die. Fentanyl is a dangerous opioid to even consume let alone overdose on, call WhiteSands Treatment at 877-221-4535 to get the help you need. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Fentanyl in Florida

What is Fentanyl and why is it so dangerous?

Fentanyl is a type of opioid, which directly helps with pain relief. Because of having such a good effect on pain, it’s considered highly addictive to people who have taken it. Fentanyl is considered even more dangerous than morphine, codeine, and heroin because of its potency. Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine. All you need is one-tenth of a milligram of fentanyl to get the effect of pain relief or a similar feeling as morphine. 

What impact is Fentanyl having on Florida communities?

Florida is one of the most impacted states when looking at fentanyl overdoses. Florida has always been known to be at the center of drug overdoses and the state most people go to score drugs. Fentanyl is the leading cause of death in the state of Florida, which is why Florida is cracking down more with intense penalties and longer sentences have been in place if you’re someone who is selling fentanyl. 

What are the symptoms of a Fentanyl overdose?

The symptoms of fentanyl overdose look the same as any opioid overdose. The main symptoms of fentanyl overdose are small, constricted pupils, falling asleep, slow, weak, no breathing, choking, limp body, clammy skin, and discolored skin around lips and nails. It’s important to call 911 if you suspect your loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms. 

What are the laws regarding Fentanyl in Florida?

Selling and distributing fentanyl that’s four to 14 grams in Florida is a seven-year minimum sentence. If you traffick 14 to 28 grams of fentanyl or drugs that contain fentanyl, you will have a 20-year minimum sentence. 

How prevalent is Fentanyl abuse in Florida?

Fentanyl abuse happens most in Florida. Florida contributes to the high percentage of fentanyl overdoses. When breaking down county by county in Florida, fentanyl abuse is one of the main contributors to fatalities. 

What are the available treatment options for Fentanyl addiction in Florida?

Since Florida has had many residents overdosing on opioids in general, the state has been well-equipped with many drug rehab centers. WhiteSands Treatment is a top rehab facility that can help you overcome and treat fentanyl addiction. WhiteSands Treatment provides medically assisted treatment plans, which include the detox process when trying to rid of fentanyl from the body. 

How are awareness campaigns combating the Fentanyl crisis in Florida?

Many districts in Florida sent out press releases for awareness campaigns regarding the prevalence of the fentanyl crisis in Florida. The press release specified how many people have been affected so far and died from fentanyl in Florida. March 10 was also national fentanyl awareness day, increasing awareness of how dangerous fentanyl is and that it’s fatal to anyone consuming it. 

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.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.