As the opioid crisis continues to rage, fentanyl has taken over as one of the most dangerous drugs of the entire epidemic. The question of “Why is fentanyl dangerous?” centers on the fact that small amounts can trigger a fentanyl overdose, and synthetic opioids like this one often contain other substances that contribute to its hazards.
Fentanyl, like other common drugs categorized in the opioid epidemic, is extremely addictive. As opioid overdose continues to be a problem, especially among younger users, there’s no better time to seek treatment for substance use disorder, especially if you’re using fentanyl or other drugs (like heroin or cocaine) recreationally.
What Is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that causes respiratory depression, slowing your breathing and heart rate upon ingestion. Fentanyl, like morphine, is most commonly used in medical environments to control severe pain or as an anesthetic during surgical procedures. Because fentanyl is such a deadly drug, quality control of the prescription-grade product is important for safety reasons. When created in medical labs, providers are assured of how much fentanyl is found in each pill. This is not the case when counterfeit pills are distributed without the same oversight.
Here are three reasons why, amid growing fear about synthetic opioids like fentanyl, the time to get treatment for this particular drug is now.
Small Amounts of Fentanyl Can Be Fatal
One of the biggest reasons fentanyl is associated with so many overdose deaths is that small amounts of the drug can be fatal. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, fentanyl is 50 times more powerful than heroin and roughly 100 times more powerful than morphine. As such, the DEA notes that just two milligrams of fentanyl are considered a lethal drug dose. The challenge is that there’s no way to tell how much fentanyl is in a pill or powder, which is part of what makes illicit fentanyl such a potent drug.
It should be noted that recent fentanyl deaths have largely been attributed to illicit fentanyl and not the pharmaceutical versions prescribed in tightly controlled medical environments to treat severe pain. Drug dealers don’t have the expertise or resources to control fentanyl’s potency when it comes to the illicit version. Moreover, some drug dealers sell counterfeit pills that contain fentanyl without monitoring how much is in them. Since they can’t control the dose, overdosing is more common than it might be with other opioids.
Fentanyl Use Can Perpetuate Addiction to Other Prescription Opioids
Fentanyl use can perpetuate addiction to other prescription drugs, especially if you’re already using other illicit drugs. You may be using fentanyl-laced drugs without even realizing you’re doing so. This is yet another reason opioid-related deaths are on the rise and why fentanyl requires such stringent drug enforcement policies.
Even with a fentanyl prescription, it’s imperative to work with medical professionals to control the time you’re using the medication and how much you’re ingesting. This applies to fentanyl, oxycodone and other opioids used to address credible medical conditions. What may start as a reasonable form of prescribed treatment can often result in the use of opioids for illicit purposes.
Many people make the mistake of believing that because they got pills from a medical professional, they don’t have to worry about the possible impacts of these drugs on their lives — and this could not be further from the truth. Drugs like fentanyl, morphine and Xanax can trigger opioid receptors in the brain that kick off addictive behaviors you never even realized you had. From there, the slide into addiction may begin with pills and end up with some of the common drugs in the opioid family, like heroin.
Fentanyl Can Inadvertently Harm Other People in Your Life
Fentanyl can inadvertently harm other people in your life in several ways. To start, addiction to any illicit drugs impacts more than just the people taking them. This synthetic opioid can cause you to lose your job, home and family if your substance use spins out of control. If a loved one gets hold of any counterfeit pills you might have, they could take a lethal dose without even knowing it. Some overdose deaths have been individuals who didn’t use other drugs or fentanyl recreationally; rather, they handled illicit fentanyl, and the drug exposure was enough to be lethal. Fentanyl’s potency is so high that the DEA recommends using gloves simply to handle it.
For example, if you leave fentanyl somewhere a loved one can access it and they handle it without gloves, they might inadvertently end up overdosing through no fault of their own. This could lead to death from fentanyl for someone who didn’t even struggle with substance use disorder. Moreover, drug dealers are infusing small candies with fentanyl to make it more attractive to young people, also increasing the possibility of an overdose.
You Can Overcome a Fentanyl Addiction With Help
Opioid addiction is challenging to overcome, but it can be done. It’s not impossible, despite how substance abuse of a synthetic opioid like fentanyl might feel. Your mental health will improve without the rigors of substance use disorder weighing on you. Moreover, seeing someone take a lethal dose or doing so yourself can be traumatic, which can in turn worsen your substance use behaviors. If recent overdoses are the primary driver for you to get better, then use that to better your mental health and begin substance abuse treatment.
The fact that fentanyl is so potent is one of the reasons prevention is such an important part of controlling its use and staving off an overdose. Prevention can save lives, and this process starts with you entering treatment to get your life under control after using fentanyl. Overdose deaths are only going to continue to rise as long as people are using fentanyl outside of a controlled medical environment. You don’t have to be the next person to accidentally take a lethal dose from just one pill. You can get help today, avoid the possibility of an overdose and save your own life with fentanyl addiction treatment in Murrieta, CA.
Reach Out for Help to Beat a Fentanyl Addiction Today
Ranch Creek Recovery specializes in helping treat patients who are struggling with opioid addiction, especially those dealing with this dangerous drug. Visit our website to learn more about beginning opioid treatment, or call (877) 997-8931 as soon as possible to reclaim your life from substance use disorder.