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The rise of Fentanyl

October 18, 2021
Rise of Fentanyl vs. Heroin

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic pharmaceutical drug, it is a synthetic opioid more than 50 to 100 times stronger than Morphine originally used as a painkiller in cases of severe pain after injury or surgery. It is also used in cases of breakthrough pain which are bouts of severe pain despite 24/7 narcotic treatment. These uses illustrate the strength and potency of Fentanyl. This high potency of fentanyl is what makes it a viable option for these severe cases, however it is also the reason it has one of the highest rates of addiction and overdose.

Illicit fentanyl

Illicit fentanyl, primarily manufactured in labs across the world is being smuggled into the United States.either via common trade routes or purchased on the darknet by drug dealers and even teens at home. This new form of fentanyl is being distributed and sold in the illicit drug market, the distribution of illicit fentanyl varies, it is being mixed in with other drugs (cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin), This is done by manufacturers and dealers to increase the potency of the drug. The most common form of the drug are fentanyl-laced counterfeight prescription drugs. These “fake” pills are commonly known as “blues” or “Percs”. Because there is no official oversight or controls in the making of these pills they often contain lethal doses of fentanyl.

Fentanyl Overdoses

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently reported statistics showing more than 93,331 overdoses in 2020. That is more than 20,000 more deaths than 2019 which was a record high. This increase is the largest in a single year since 1999. Recent research is showing rapid growth of fentanyl within the drug supply leading to an increase by nearly 20,000 (54%) increase in deaths attributable to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. This increase in deaths related to synthetic opioids is a driving factor in this explosive spike.

This is a national issue that is effecting your friends, neighbors, and most likely even your family. The stereotype of a fentanyl addict is similar to a heroin addict, but statistics show even high functioning individuals are suffering with fentanyl abuse and addiction. With the dramatic spike in use, abuse, addiction and overdose it is imperative to know the signs of fentanyl abuse and overdose

Signs of Fentanyl abuse

  • Fatigue
  • Erratic behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Mood Swings
  • Financial Instability
  • Withdrawals
  • Pinpoint pupils

If you notice these indicators in your loved one it is important that they seek treatment as soon as possible.

How to tell if someone is overdosing on fentanyl

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Limp body
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Cyanosis (Blue colored skin)
  • Slowed or stopped breathing
  • Low heart rate
  • Loss of consciousness

In cases of overdose respiratory depression can occur in less than 5 minutes. Medical attention is imperative, this can include the administration of “narcan” which is an emergency treatment for opiate overdose.

Helping a Fentanyl addict through intervention

If you or a loved one is in the grips of an addiction to fentanyl it can be overwhelming. Finding yourself in this situation will lead to many questions, all leading to a head when you ask “what do we do now?” which is the most important question of all. The answer is to get them into a safe and effective treatment center as soon as possible.

Getting someone to treatment is much easier said than done as most addiThe rise octs will resist treatment, this is especially true when fentanyl is involved due to the physical dependence that it creates. If they are in denial that they need treatment, or even have a problem, an intervention may be appropriate. The intervention process will accomplish not only the goal of admitting them into a treatment program but set the foundation they will need to achieve long-term recovery from fentanyl use. At intervention 911 we will support your entire family in accomplishing these goals. We do so by facilitating an intervention with trained and qualified professionals who will work with your family to facilitate a successful intervention and kickstart the recovery process.

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