The Danger of Fentanyl Use
All drugs are dangerous when taken beyond what is normally prescribed by doctors. When drugs are purchased illegally on the street, then a larger problem occurs because the producers and users are no longer following the rules about safely using such drugs. How did fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, become such a big problem on the street in the first place?
Fentanyl was developed in 1959 and entered the pharmaceutical marketplace in 1960 as an intravenous analgesic and/or anesthetic, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Drug Fact Sheet. Fentanyl was first developed to treat cancer patients as part of their pain management treatment and it is between 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine.
In the last decade, the rise of fentanyl overdose fatalities has risen from 2,666 in 2011 to 31,335 in 2018. From the end of January 2021 to the end of January 2022, there were 107,000 deaths from a drug overdose, with 80,590 of these deaths involving at least one opioid, usually fentanyl, according to a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) testimonial report. Part of the cause of the rise of abuse of fentanyl and subsequent overdoses and deaths is the increase of illegal fentanyl trafficked across the border from the main sources of Mexico and China, with India as a growing source as well, according to a 2020 DEA report.
Illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF) becomes more dangerous when it is added to other drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine, causing these drugs to be even more addictive. It is even more troubling when many users do not know their drugs are laced with fentanyl and yet the users find themselves needing more and more of whatever drug they are buying and using on a regular basis.
The only way to find out if the drugs are laced with fentanyl is to use fentanyl test strips (FTS) on the drugs before using them. These test strips will give results in five minutes and can be purchased through any health treatment organization in your city that distributes FTS. Using these strips can help save your life. The next step towards saving your life is to enter a rehabilitation treatment center to get yourself off these dangerous drugs.
Finding Treatment for Fentanyl Abuse
The reality of fentanyl abuse and addiction is that it can be hard to treat unless you have been on it for only a short time. While you can use FTS to determine if there is fentanyl in your drugs, you do not know how much of the drug composition is fentanyl. If you decide to enter a treatment program, bring your drugs with you for chemical analysis. This also helps your medical team to determine what type of treatment they need to give you to get you off the drugs so you can gain your life back.
Methadone and buprenorphine are the two main medications used to treat opioid addiction and both are strictly regulated by the federal government. You want to be sure that the treatment center you choose can have enough on hand so you will have a chance for a successful treatment outcome. If you are a long-term user of fentanyl, you may have a tough time going through the fentanyl detox part. Yet, it is important to start as soon as you can because waiting longer while still using fentanyl means even more suffering during a later treatment.
When it comes to prescriptions for pain, all opioid drugs used to manage pain, eventually reach a point where one may need more of it as the body builds tolerance to the prescribed dosage. It is easy from this point to begin taking more of the drug and potentially reach a point where you could overdose on the prescribed drug. Some people will buy off the streets to get more of the drug and some doctors may prescribe higher dosages of the drug. Be aware that this is not the path to follow as it can lead to an eventual overdose and death.
The Signs of Fentanyl Effects and/or Overdosing
If you or a loved one are taking fentanyl, here are the signs when an overdose is occurring.
- The person has shallow breathing or stops breathing and there is a loss of consciousness,
- The person appears confused, distracted, or has extreme personality changes,
- The person is sleeping more than usual and for longer periods of time, and
- The person’s pupils constrict to pinpoints.
If you observe any of the above signs in another person you know who is taking fentanyl, get them to a hospital as soon as possible. Once treated there, it is time to contact a rehabilitation center for getting into a treatment program.
Call Us if You Need Help Fast
Pacific Bay Recovery can help you with any substance addiction and/or mental issue you might have so you can regain a happy and functional lifestyle again. Call us for a free consultation and to set up an appointment to start getting help as soon as possible. 619-350-8220.