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Why is Fentanyl So Dangerous? Understanding Why it’s Important to Get Help for Fentanyl Addiction

dangers of fentanyl abuseOver the last 20 years, the devastating opioid epidemic has evolved into what it is today: one of the leading causes of preventable death and one of the reasons for America’s reduced life expectancy.[1]

Between 2020 and 2021, the U.S. saw the most drug overdose deaths recorded in the nation’s history. Approximately 66% of these overdose deaths are attributed to fentanyl, an extremely powerful and addictive opioid drug.[2]

But what makes fentanyl so dangerous in the first place? Well, fentanyl isn’t your average opioid drug. It is more deadly and more widespread than other opioids in existence.

If you or someone you love is addicted to fentanyl, the time to seek help is now. Each day you delay getting help is one step closer to becoming another painful statistic.

Fentanyl

Understanding Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a powerful, synthetic opioid that is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. There are two types of fentanyl:

  1. Pharmaceutical fentanyl – Fentanyl is used to manage severe pain after surgery and in people with chronic pain who are tolerant to other opioids. Pharmaceutical fentanyl comes in many different forms, including an extended-release transdermal patch, lozenges, nasal spray, and more. This type of fentanyl can be safe if used as directed.
  2. Illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF) – IMF is manufactured in clandestine or illegal laboratories. Much of the IMF in the United States is manufactured overseas and smuggled into the states. This type of fentanyl is commonly found on the streets and is responsible for many opioid-related drug overdose deaths today.

The CDC reports that more than 150 people die each day as a result of an overdose involving synthetic opioids like fentanyl.[3]

Why is Fentanyl so Dangerous?

Fentanyl is inexpensive and produces very noticeable effects, making it a popular choice of adulterant for drug manufacturers and dealers. They may add fentanyl to their drugs to increase their supply and profits.

Fentanyl is so common in today’s drug supply that many dealers themselves don’t know what their drugs contain, and fentanyl contamination happens so easily because it looks much like other drugs, and it only takes a little bit to produce life-threatening side effects.

Potent and Lethal

Fentanyl is far more potent than other opioids, including heroin. People who do not have a tolerance to opioids can overdose by ingesting granule-sized amounts. Fentanyl can also be lethal in people who do have an opioid tolerance because it is difficult to tell exactly how much fentanyl a substance contains. Fentanyl test strips can detect fentanyl in substances, but they can’t tell you exactly how much.

Being so potent and lethal, it is extremely easy to overdose on fentanyl. Fentanyl is the leading cause of opioid overdoses today.

Difficult to Detect

Illicitly manufactured fentanyl usually comes in the form of a fine white powder. It can easily resemble cocaine, MDMA, and other illegal drugs. Fentanyl is also odorless and tasteless, making it hard to detect. And, unless you are using fentanyl test strips before taking drugs, it can be difficult to detect fentanyl in your substances.

Found in Other Illicit Drugs, Unknown by Users

Although some people who overdose on fentanyl intentionally seek out fentanyl because they have a tolerance to heroin or other opioids, many people who experience fentanyl overdoses do so accidentally. Because fentanyl is hard to detect and it is so prevalent in the drug supply, drug users may think they are taking cocaine or a prescription pill only to take fentanyl unknowingly and experience an overdose.

Fentanyl is often found in heroin, cocaine, meth, and pressed or fake prescription pills like Xanax. According to the DEA, 60% of fentanyl-laced prescription pills contain a lethal amount of the drug.[4]

Signs of Fentanyl Addiction

Common signs of fentanyl abuse and addiction include:

  • Pinpoint pupils and flushed skin
  • “Nodding out” or going back and forth between states of unconsciousness and semi-consciousness
  • Experiencing an opioid overdose
  • Lying to friends and family about drug use
  • Developing a tolerance that requires you to use larger amounts of drugs or more potent drugs to feel the desired effects
  • Having flu-like withdrawal symptoms if you stop using fentanyl
  • Putting your drug use ahead of more important responsibilities like work, school, or family
  • Having obsessive thoughts about drug use or cravings
  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Loss of control over the frequency of your drug use
  • Continuing to use fentanyl or other drugs despite the problems your substance abuse is causing

Knowing how to spot the signs of addiction can help you or a loved one recognize when it’s time to get help. However, because of how deadly fentanyl is, abusing fentanyl in any way is a sign that you need professional treatment. Getting treatment could save your life.

Find Treatment for Fentanyl Abuse and Addiction

When it comes to fentanyl, the decision between active addiction and professional treatment is truly life or death. Although asking for help with addiction can be scary, it’s the best thing you can do for your health and well-being.

At Woburn Wellness, our entire staff has the professional training necessary to guide each client to their highest potential through substance use disorder recovery.​ Whether it’s our Day Treatment Program, Intensive Outpatient Program, or Outpatient Services program, help with addiction is available at Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment. Our multifaceted addiction treatment services are designed to help identify and diminish the compulsive obsession to use drugs and alcohol.

Don’t wait any longer. Call now to start your recovery at our treatment program for fentanyl addiction near Boston.

References:

  1. https://ashpublications.org/ashclinicalnews/news/4317/Opioid-Overdose-Tops-List-of-Leading-Causes-of
  2. https://www.dea.gov/press-releases/2022/04/06/dea-warns-increase-mass-overdose-events-involving-deadly-fentanyl
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/stopoverdose/fentanyl/index.html
  4. https://www.dea.gov/alert/dea-laboratory-testing-reveals-6-out-10-fentanyl-laced-fake-prescription-pills-now-contain

Ready to Make a Change?

We know that overcoming addiction is not easy and requires courage to ask for help. At Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment, our team of professionals has decades of combined experience in helping men, women, and families overcome substance abuse.

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