Fentanyl Deaths – News Headlines 2017:
If you or someone you love is currently addicted to heroin, you have likely heard of Fentanyl.
It’s not a new drug, but at 100 times more potent than morphine and the ability to use it to “cut into” heroin to give it an “extra boost” (according to a dealer who was interviewed for a Fentanyl documentary) it is linked to thousands of heroin related deaths.
Some 2017 news headlines are:
- Fentanyl deaths rising in Central Texas, going untracked
- Fentanyl, heroin drive Virginia’s rise in fatal drug overdoses
- America’s Fentanyl Crisis, Surging, With No End In Sight
- Spirit Airline pilot and wife die from apparent fentanyl overdose in Ohio
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid drug very similar to morphine, but up to 100 times as potent. When prescribed by a physician, the schedule II drug is used to help manage post-surgery pain or severe chronic pain related to cancer or serious injuries. It’s also used to help manage pain in patients who are tolerant of other opioid medications.
The drug is available as a prescription in the form of injections, lozenges and patches. The formulation may be time-released, providing strong pain relief over a long period of time.
Due to its ability to break through the opiate barrier and because it is incredibly potent, fentanyl is often abused. Unfortunately, many individuals who take the drug aren’t aware that there isn’t much difference between a therapeutic dose and a deadly dose. According to the CDC, deaths from synthetic opioids like fentanyl increased by 72.2 percent between 2014 and 2015.
This statistic covers more than just doctor-prescribed fentanyl. According to the same data, there was a significant increase in drug products that contained fentanyl, but not a significant increase in the prescription of fentanyl.
This is because fentanyl is often illicitly manufactured. When sold on the street, fentanyl is often cut into heroin to amplify the potency of the drug it is mixed with. This may improve the high produced, but also significantly increases the potential dangers.
Is Fentanyl Deadly?
Like other opioids, fentanyl binds to the opioid receptors in the body, which are located in the areas of the brain that controls breathing. As a result, users may experience some severe side effects, like:
- Trouble breathing
- Difficulty sleeping
- Weight loss
The potential for overdose greatly increases when fentanyl is mixed in with other drugs. Consider for instance, a 2016 report on overdose estimates in Massachusetts. During the first half of the year, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health estimated the total number of fentanyl overdose deaths to be as high as 986, 26 percent higher than the same period in 2015. The report states that fentanyl was detected in two-thirds of the total overdoses during this time.
According to the CEO of Drug Abuse Dialogues, Carol Falkowski, anyone purchasing illegal drugs may be taking fentanyl without even knowing it. How deadly is the drug? It only takes a dose the size of three grains of sand to cause an overdose.
Remember the death of Prince? It is suspected that the hydrocodone pills found in his home were counterfeit, or fake prescription drugs. These are becoming more prevalent and it’s becoming harder for people to tell the difference between the counterfeit prescriptions and the real thing. Unfortunately, these counterfeit pills often contain fentanyl.
How to Tell if Heroin Is Cut With Fentanyl
Unfortunately, only a lab report can detect the presence of fentanyl in heroin or other drugs. Trusting a particular dealer or trying to guess what cut is in a batch from how it looks, or smells, or whatever, is just pointless as it’s all speculation. There are many variables that influence the look of heroin. Also, it is no safer to smoke heroin than it is to use intravenously or to purchase pills at street level.
Fentanyl is one of the strongest synthetic opioids in the world, and one of the deadliest. The bondage of addiction mixed with the very real danger of almost instantaneous death from overdose is something you can be free of. You really never have to go through another day wishing you could break free.
You deserve to live a struggle free life and we can help you get there. Contact Gracious Care Recovery Solutions now to find out how you can get help.