Important Facts About Fentanyl

Important Facts About Fentanyl

Our nation has seen a rise in overdose deaths in the past few decades. Though there are many drug culprits in this situation, fentanyl is among the most dangerous drugs on the market. Consequently, it is responsible for a high percentage of overdose deaths. This drug is often mixed with other substances, leading to accidental overdoses or deaths. Given its status as a highly accessible illicit drug circulating in the community, everyone should be educated about the potential harm of fentanyl. Below are some facts about fentanyl to be aware of.

Fact #1. Fentanyl Is More Potent Than Morphine 

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic similar to morphine and heroin but is 50 to 100 times more potent. Many experts consider even 2 milligrams of fentanyl to be lethal. Unfortunately, many forms of fentanyl contain up to 5 milligrams.

Fact #2. Fentanyl Is Cheap and Masquerades as Other Drugs 

There are two types of fentanyl: pharmaceutical fentanyl and illicitly manufactured fentanyl. Illicit use of fentanyl has taken many young lives. Because fentanyl is cheap, manufacturers of counterfeit medications often mix it into other substances, such as oxycodone, Xanax, and amphetamine, to cut costs. Distinguishing genuine pills from counterfeit versions is difficult.

Fact #3. Fentanyl Is Accessible to Young People Through Internet Sales 

Many young people acquire illicit drugs from the internet or street dealers. Unfortunately, it is hard for parents to monitor these purchase venues as they are easy to hide and difficult to trace. This is why we often hear the tragic news of teenagers overdosing in their bedrooms on fentanyl pills bought from online dealers.

Fact #4. Fentanyl Has Many Street Names 

Illicit fentanyl pills are often referred to by dealers as apache, jackpot, murder 8, tango, and cash, among many other street names. It can be difficult for parents to monitor whether their child is using it because they may be unaware of these various names. When young people use these coded names, they can hide their use under their parents’ noses.

Fact #5. Fentanyl Also Comes in Powdered or Liquid Forms

Illicitly manufactured fentanyl may also take powdered forms mixed with other substances to resemble prescription opioids. In its liquid form, fentanyl may be found in nasal sprays, eye drops, skin patches, or cough drops. Because fentanyl is so ubiquitous and easily disguised, one can assume that drugs that do not come with an ingredient list may contain fentanyl.

Prepare a Prevention Plan Early

Having all this knowledge will inform how we prepare young people when facing access to illicit drugs. Parents should educate their teens before these opportunities arise. For example, teens should learn to ensure they have trustworthy friends and to inspect anything a peer might give them, like a cough drop.

Given that fentanyl circulates in the wider community, young people should be educated to assume that any pill or substance not purchased from a pharmacy could be dangerous. They should prioritize safety and health over yielding to peer pressure.

Families with teens in neighborhoods where illicit drug use is widespread can join youth prevention and intervention programs. Many resources educate and assist before a problem arises. For example, some prevention programs may teach individuals how to use fentanyl test strips. This tool and many other harm reduction methods are designed to identify the presence of fentanyl.

Have an Overdose Intervention Plan

Overdose may happen to individuals in the community. Therefore, it is wise for individuals to carry naloxone if they are concerned about illicit drug use in their community. Naloxone is an FDA-approved medication that can be used to reverse opioid overdoses.

Individuals should also know how to identify symptoms and signs of overdose. These include pinpoint pupils, shallow breathing, blue fingernails, no response to stimulus, and more. If these signs are present, one should call 911 immediately. While waiting for medical professionals to arrive, the individual can administer a dose of naloxone if available.

Because fentanyl is more potent than other opioid drugs, the standard dosage of naloxone may not be effective for very long. The individual can administer a second dose while waiting for first responders. Naloxone has no harmful effects, even after additional doses. Similarly, it does not harm a person not experiencing an overdose, so one shouldn’t worry that they have incorrectly diagnosed an overdose.

Recovering From Fentanyl Addiction

Because fentanyl is highly potent, it often leads to dependence and addiction. In recovery from an addiction to fentanyl, individuals can rely on a support system that can check on them. It is also essential to store naloxone at home and teach family members how to use it in an emergency.

Those who have detoxed from fentanyl and achieved sobriety should know their substance tolerance has significantly decreased. This is critical knowledge because returning to a similar dosage after abstinence can be even more dangerous than before. Unfortunately, many overdoses happen after people relapse for this exact reason.

If you or a loved one is looking for an addiction treatment center, consider one that helps you understand the science behind potent drugs like fentanyl and provides overdose prevention strategies. This knowledge can be helpful in many situations, including substance use and mental health recovery. At Laguna Shores Recovery, our experienced mental health professionals and compassionate staff know the importance of overdose prevention and harm reduction when illicit drugs like fentanyl are concerned. We will walk alongside you or your loved one to offer support and guidance. We provide detox services and recovery treatments so you can become your healthiest self. Our alumni programs offer stellar aftercare and connect you with a supportive community of recovering individuals. Call us today to discover how you can be part of our community. Call (954) 329-1118 for more information on our programs.