February 26, 2020
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid medication prescribed to relieve severe short-term pain. Fentanyl does not “block” pain. Rather, it alters the person’s perception of that pain. Use can also result in a euphoric “high”, making popular as a recreational drug.
Fentanyl is extremely potent – up to 100 times stronger than morphine, and up to 50 times more powerful than pharmaceutical-grade 100% pure heroin.
Like all opioids, fentanyl abuse causes vomiting, so anyone mixing alcohol and fentanyl can literally choke to death on their own vomit.
The biggest hazard comes from fentanyl-induced respiratory arrest. All opioids suppress breathing, and the stronger the opioid is, the greater effect it has on respiration. Fentanyl is so powerful that it does is the size of 6 grains of salt can cause the user to stop breathing.
In 2016, fentanyl-related deaths in the United States were 540% higher than they were three years earlier.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health:
There is no easy way for someone given a drug to tell if they have been given fentanyl instead of heroin or some other medication.
When first responders think the drug causing the overdose is heroin, they will administer an amount of Narcan that is INADEQUATE to reverse the powerful effects of fentanyl. Depending on the amount taken, it may necessitate double or perhaps even triple the normal amount of Narcan to save the life of the overdose victim.
The danger is even worse when the substance has been purposefully mislabeled, because the emergency overdose protocols vary between drug classes.
For instance, Xanax overdoses don’t require a Narcan shot. In the critical moments during a fentanyl overdose, a person can die simply because the first responders aren’t aware of the true substance.
What Does All This Mean?
Fentanyl is now the driving force behind the continuing and worsening opioid epidemic. Because the difference between an expected high and an unintentional fatal overdose is so impossibly small, many experts believe fentanyl has overtaken heroin as the most dangerous drug in America.
If you or someone you care about is abusing opioids or any other addictive substance, Teensavers Treatment Centers is the most-trusted drug rehab for teenagers in Southern California. Call today to get the immediate help and support you need.
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