The Dangers of Fentanyl
Opioid overdoses are on the rise in Florida. According to the medical examiner’s office this increase is due to overdoses from heroin and the synthetic narcotic fentanyl. Some speculate that the crackdown on oxycodone has turned addicts to heroin and fentanyl instead. Unfortunately, fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin, and users may not even be aware that they are using it. Since it is cheaper to manufacture, dealers have replaced other opioids with fentanyl—a much more potent drug.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid similar to morphine, except it is 100 times more powerful. It is listed as a schedule II prescription drug used to treat pain that doesn’t respond to other less potent prescription drugs. In prescription form, the drug is known as Actiq®, Duragesic®, and Sublimaze®. Taken legally, it is administered via injection, transdermal patch or as a lozenge.
How is it Used Illegally?
On the street, fentanyl may be taken alone or laced with heroin. It is known as Apache, China Girl, China White, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfella, Jackpot, Murder 8, TNT, and Tango and Cash. Typically, this street fentanyl is produced in an illicit laboratory and then sold as either a powder, spiked on blotter paper, or as a tablet. Often the tablet mimics other less potent opioids, and the user is unaware of what is being ingested. Fentanyl can be swallowed, snorted or injected.
What are the Effects of Fentanyl?
Like other opioid drugs, fentanyl binds to opioid receptors in the brain that control pain and emotion. They increase dopamine levels in the brain and produce euphoria and relaxation. High doses of opioids can stop breathing, which leads to death. Fentanyl is especially dangerous because of its high potency. Street forms of the drug are often laced with other opioids or disguised as other opioids, making it incredibly dangerous and too easy to overdose.
In many cases opioid addictions begin with prescribed pain killers. Continued use can lead to addiction when more and more of the drug is required to get the same high or relief from pain. They are often listed as schedule II drugs because of their possibility for abuse and addiction. When users can no longer obtain the pharmaceutical opioids through their doctors, they may turn to illegal means in order to continue their addiction. With fentanyl replacing or lacing other opioids, it is possible for addicts to get hooked without even knowing it. Others purposely choose fentanyl for its higher potency and potential high. It is a dangerous addiction because of its potency. Take just a little too much, and overdose is likely, which in many cases means death.
Overcome Fentanyl Addiction
Addiction and overdose don’t have to be the end. There is help out there for all types of substance abuse addictions. Whether it is heroin, fentanyl, norco or cocaine, substance abuse programs can help you overcome the addiction and lead a substance free life. People mistakenly assume that a prescription drug is safe, when in reality prescription drugs can be misused and turn into addictions. For any type of addiction, help in the form of a substance abuse recovery program can change your life for the better. If you want help overcoming substance abuse, call Origins of Hope today. Our professional staff is here to give you the support and hope you need.
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