What Is Fentanyl, and Why Is It So Dangerous?
13 July, 2022
Taking illicit drugs is never safe. Knowing the specific risks of the drugs one is using can help individuals make more informed decisions about their actions and future.
Fentanyl is not only much more intense than other drugs, but its ubiquitous and varied nature makes it an increasingly dangerous substance. Knowing what fentanyl is, its usage symptoms, and why it is so destructive can educate and empower individuals to either identify the use of fentanyl in others or address and overcome their own addiction to the drug.
What Is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is an opioid depressant drug that slows the body's natural processes and creates a short-lived sense of euphoria. While developed as a potent pain reliever for severe pain, such as in cancer patients, it has since become prevalent in the illicit drug market.
Like fellow opioids such as heroin and morphine, it is incredibly addictive, though fentanyl possesses far greater potency than other opioids, reaching levels that are 50 to 100 times as powerful as morphine. Unlike other opioids, fentanyl is entirely synthetic, meaning it is created and not derived from any naturally occurring substance.
Due to the intense effects, fentanyl has on the body and mind, fentanyl is sought out by those looking for ever more potent drugs. However, it is not just dangerous to those who seek it out; many people who purchase other illicit drugs may be using drugs laced with fentanyl while completely unaware of it.
Fentanyl is a very malleable drug, able to take a variety of forms. It can be found as a powder, nasal spray, or pills, and it can be difficult to differentiate from other drugs. The creation of these drugs is also very inconsistent. Many pills not labeled as fentanyl contained at least two milligrams of the drug when tested, a lethal dose in some cases.
The Ubiquitous Presence of Fentanyl
Street-level drugs always possess a great deal of danger, as it can be impossible to know exactly how such drugs were made or if they were cut with anything else. Fentanyl has been used more and more in the creation of various illicit drugs to increase their potency and addictive properties. While it is commonly used to strengthen heroin — even masquerading entirely as heroin itself — it has also been cut into other drugs such as marijuana.
People not even looking to engage with fentanyl or opioids of any kind can end up developing an addiction to them and further compromising their health.
This presents a dangerous situation where individuals who have never been exposed to such potent drugs can suddenly begin engaging with an incredibly powerful opioid. As the body is not prepared to process fentanyl, addiction can happen within the first use, and overdose is common and life-threatening for those who are unaware that they are using the drug.
Symptoms of Fentanyl Abuse
Fentanyl has a variety of effects. As a depressant, it can slow breathing and reaction time, and even blur one's vision. Extreme euphoria, drowsiness, sedation, and slurred speech are all common, and an individual may be unable to maintain balance or otherwise control fine motor skills.
Dizziness, confusion, nausea, vomiting, fainting, low blood pressure, and more are all associated with the use of fentanyl, and these symptoms can be even more intense if an individual is unprepared to cope with their effects, resulting in an incredibly confusing and scary situation.
Fentanyl's highly addictive properties can cause addiction incredibly quickly. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), synthetic opioids like fentanyl were responsible for nearly 73% of all opioid-related deaths in 2019, and the number of individuals struggling with addiction or overdose to fentanyl increases each year.
Even encounters with fentanyl are increasing drastically each year, making the drug and its dangers more and more prevalent.
Challenging Fentanyl Addiction
There is no easy way to overcome an addiction to opioids, especially one as potent and dangerous as fentanyl. Attempting to detox at home can present a plethora of dangers that can easily result in relapse or dangerous withdrawal symptoms. There is no substitute for dedicated, educated, professional help during this time, and engaging in a professional rehab program is essential for one's health and sobriety.
Despite fentanyl's incredibly addictive properties, there is never a point that is “too late” to change one's life and challenge an addiction to drugs. Professionals are necessary to prepare an individual to address and overcome withdrawal symptoms and challenge daily practices and routines to establish a truly sober lifestyle. Fentanyl has been touted as a new wave of the opioid crisis, affecting countless individuals in a variety of ways.
This means that identifying the use and prevalence of fentanyl is the first step toward a transformed, sober future.
Don’t Risk an Overdose. Get Treated for Fentanyl Addiction at The Edge Treatment Center
Tackling an addiction to fentanyl is a difficult process, but The Edge Treatment Center can help you today. Whether you or a loved one are taking your first step in detox or looking to continue developing your sober coping strategies, we can create a program that is right for you.
From detox to aftercare, you can count on us to get you exactly where you need to be, personalizing your time with us at each step. Treating addiction and mental health disorders, trauma, and more simultaneously is necessary, and our integrated approach to recovery can help you.
If you’re seeking help for fentanyl addiction for yourself or a loved one, please contact The Edge Treatment Center today.