The Dangers of Fentanyl
What Is Fentanyl?
The ongoing opioid epidemic has impacted the lives of thousands of Americans each day, with many people becoming entrenched in a cycle of opioid addiction that is easy to enter but challenging to remove themselves from. The method of producing opioids such as heroin has become increasingly dangerous as many batches have become mixed with toxic, deadly amounts of fentanyl. This mixing has caused a significant increase in Americans experiencing an opioid overdose and, in some cases, losing their lives to this powerful drug.
With the rising concern around fentanyl abuse and its dangers, many Americans are looking for a way to overcome their addiction or support loved ones in healing from their drug addiction with the help of an addiction treatment center. There is a light at the end of the tunnel for your drug abuse. With the proper support of addiction therapists and medical professionals, Americans have the opportunity to heal from the root causes of addiction and develop a new foundation of sobriety within their lives.
While many have heard about the ongoing opioid epidemic, it is vital to understand more about fentanyl and its impacts on someone’s physical, emotional, and mental health. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid initially intended to support patients experiencing chronic pain disorders. Hospitals would often use this drug as a method of pain management for patients undergoing severe pain, typically after having surgery. Compared to morphine, fentanyl is 100 times more potent, which is why the use of fentanyl needs to be monitored by medical professionals when used within the hospital.
However, as the opioid epidemic continues to rise, there has been an increase in illicit fentanyl production, often created within homemade labs in other foreign countries and then being smuggled over to the United States. The fentanyl being produced is typically combined with other illicit substances, which increases the potency of those substances. Illicit fentanyl is being sold as a powder, nasal sprays, or pill formats to appear more legitimate as a prescription drug.
What You Need to Know About Fentanyl
As the opioid epidemic continues to rise, there has been an increase in illicit fentanyl production, often created within homemade labs in other foreign countries and then being smuggled over to the United States. The fentanyl being produced is typically combined with other illicit substances, which increases the potency of those substances. Due to the illegal production of fentanyl, there is no method of ensuring quality control, which leads to lethal doses of fentanyl being provided to individuals without them knowing, leading to the rising numbers of people experiencing fentanyl overdoses and, in some cases, loss of life.
Fentanyl has been known to have a lower market value compared to other illicit drugs, which is one of the leading causes of fentanyl being mixed with other illegal substances such as heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine. The more illegal street drugs are mixed with fentanyl, the higher the chances of fatal interactions occurring for the drug users.
The fatality rate from fentanyl can be attributed to the production method as there is no exact process for creating illicit fentanyl. Research has been conducted on the potency of fentanyl being produced, ranging from 0.02 to 5.1 milligrams of fentanyl in each dose. This level of potency is twice the amount for a lethal dose. Due to the uncertainty from batch to batch, it proves to be exceptionally challenging for drug abusers to know what they are taking each time, as potency levels are continually changing. Additionally, individuals consuming fentanyl will have a different reaction to it depending on their own physical size, the tolerance developed to fentanyl, and their history of prior fentanyl use. Depending on your own unique circumstances, you may be at a higher risk for fentanyl overdose or fatal consequences.
Fentanyl’s Effects on the Body
Due to fentanyl being a synthetic opioid, individuals will feel similar effects within their body that other opioids such as morphine or heroin will produce, including:
- Urinary retention
- Physical weakness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Depressed respiratory functioning
- Stiff or rigid muscles
- Slowed heart rate
On some rare occasions, individuals may experience the following side effects from their fentanyl use:
- Coughing up blood
- Chest pain
- Bloating or swelling in the face
- Kidney damage
- Throat irritation
- Difficulties with voluntary movements
- Abnormal heart rhythm
- Reduced urine output
- Stinging skin or experiencing skin conditions such as eczema
Learn more about household items that people can use to get high here:
Signs of Fentanyl Overdose
With the rising numbers of individuals becoming impacted by the opioid crisis and many losing their lives to this lethal drug, it is essential to be well informed and prepared to know what signs to look for in a potential fentanyl overdose. This will allow you to keep yourself or a loved one safe from a possible fentanyl overdose. The following are signs and symptoms that may indicate someone is experiencing a fentanyl overdose:
- Changes in pupillary size
- Cold or clammy skin
- Low blood pressure
- Limp or weak body
- Blue colored lips and fingernails, otherwise known as cyanosis
- Decreased heart rate
- Slowed or stopped breathing
- Respiratory failure leading to death
- Reduced or loss of consciousness
Getting Help for Fentanyl Overdose
There is help for individuals experiencing a fentanyl overdose that can help reverse the effects of the potentially fatal overdose to keep the individual alive. If you begin to experience any of the fentanyl overdose signs or witness a loved one or another person exhibiting symptoms of an overdose, you can take steps to get the person the help they need. If you approach a person experiencing an overdose, you can reverse the effects of the overdose with the support of the medication naloxone, sometimes known as Narcan. This medication is an opioid antagonist meaning it attaches to the opioid receptors in the brain and reverses or blocks the effects of other opioids. After receiving naloxone, individuals can restore their respiratory functioning and resume normal breathing functioning if the person’s breathing has stopped or slowed during the opioid overdose. If a person has not used any opioids, there is no effect on the individual receiving the dose of naloxone. While naloxone is helpful for individuals experiencing an opioid overdose, it is not a treatment method for an opioid use disorder as it will not support patients in ending their use of opioids; this needs to be completed in an inpatient rehab or outpatient drug rehab program.
Its good to familiarize yourself with the proper use of naloxone before the need to use it arises. Any pharmacist would be happy to show you the appropriate delivery methods so that you can be sure to administer this medication with no errors and confidently use this medication amid a drug overdose. Naloxone can be administered in different formats, including:
- Injectable: When using this method, individuals must draw the appropriate amount from a vial before administering it to the person experiencing a drug overdose. Once you have loaded the prescribed dosage, you will administer the naloxone needle into the person’s muscle or a vein, or under the skin.
- Prepackaged nasal spray: This is a needle-free device already prefilled. To use this method, you simply insert the nasal spray into the person experiencing an overdose into their nasal and push the dose into the individual’s nose. This method is often helpful for individuals who have not received naloxone training and helps eliminate the stress of having to fill a needle before administering.
Addiction Treatment for Fentanyl
To overcome your fentanyl or opioid addiction, you will first need to enter a medically supervised drug detox program. This process allows you to detox and combats the opioid addiction while having access to on-site nurses and doctors that will help you safely remove the toxins of opioid abuse without risk of dangerous, sometimes lethal side effects.
After successfully removing the physical dependency of opioid addiction, you will be able to take the time to heal from your underlying causes of opioid dependence within a drug rehab program. Patients will be encouraged to participate in various addiction treatment methods, including behavioral health therapy and dual diagnosis treatment that focuses on healing and stabilizing their mental health and substance abuse. A drug rehab program will provide you with the tools you need to create a life in sobriety free of opioid addiction and removes you from the risks associated with the fentanyl crisis.
Drug Rehab at Muse Treatment Center in Los Angeles
Muse Treatment Center understands the gravity and seriousness of the fentanyl crisis that is sweeping the nation, which is why we provide solace for Americans who are ready to address and heal from their opioid addiction. You did not set out to become a drug addict, and many individuals abusing drugs often began their drug use to cope with the stressors or traumas in their lives. Muse Treatment Center offers a judgment-free treatment center for addiction that will empower you to heal from your past emotions and traumas that have been impacting your opioid addiction to be able to begin to forge a new path in sobriety and health.
Contact Muse Treatment Center at (800) 426-1818 today to hear more about the specific treatment programs we can offer you to help you break free of your opioid addiction and reclaim your life again.