Fentanyl is the single deadliest drug our nation has ever encountered. In communities from coast to coast, it is accelerating the opioid overdose crisis. Illegal drug traffickers synthesize fentanyl in labs and then add it to heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines and other substances to make their products stronger and cheaper to produce.
Fentanyl Can Be Anywhere
Fentanyl’s most alarming characteristic is its chameleonlike ability to resemble other drugs. Its powdered form looks like cocaine. In its liquid form, illicitly manufactured fentanyl may be in nasal sprays and eye drops. Many manufacturers even press it into molds that make it look like legal prescription drugs such as Adderall, oxycodone and Xanax.
Since fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine, it only takes a small amount to cause life-threatening effects. This drug’s extreme potency makes it extremely addictive and dangerous. The CDC estimates that fentanyl overdoses claim the lives of up to 150 people a day. Meanwhile, drug traffickers keep finding new ways to evade law enforcement and get their products in consumers’ hands, perpetuating the opioid crisis.
Recently, the DEA has warned of an even more hazardous chapter in the national drug epidemic – a combination of fentanyl and a veterinary tranquilizer called xylazine. DEA officials have seized xylazine/fentanyl mixtures in almost every state. People who take “tranq dope” are at higher risk of suffering fatal poisoning, especially since xylazine does not respond to naloxone.
Fentanyl Poisoning and Overdose
Since fentanyl can look identical to so many other substances, most people who take it outside a controlled hospital setting have no clue what they’re doing. Unfortunately, even a trace amount of fentanyl can be poisonous.
Early signs of fentanyl poisoning may include sleepiness, trouble breathing, clammy skin and unresponsiveness. Because fentanyl suppresses central nervous system functions, respiratory failure is the most common cause of death from fentanyl poisoning. People who stop breathing can quickly slip into a coma and die.
If you take recreational drugs – no matter their source – it’s wise to assume they contain fentanyl. You can save lives by having a supply of fentanyl test strips and naloxone, and knowing how to respond to an overdose.
Treatment for Fentanyl Abuse at Hope by the Sea
At Hope by the Sea, our comprehensive array of programming includes individualized addiction treatment tracks for recovery. At our family-owned Southern California rehab, our dedicated team of trained addiction professionals and counselors provide non-judgmental support in a beautiful environment.
Asking for help is not always easy, but it’s essential to begin a life of sobriety. When you contact us, we’ll guide you through using your insurance coverage, what to pack and what to expect when you arrive. We’ll even help you make travel arrangements if you’re joining us from out of state. To start your recovery journey, make your confidential call today.