FENTANYL: THE NEW KILLER
Overdose deaths from drugs have increased in the United States to 63,632 Americans in 2016. Amongst the causes of these deaths were synthetic opioids and cocaine. Reports show that a majority of these deaths are due to the new additive, illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF). IMF can be mixed with heroin, cocaine, and counterfeit benzodiazepine pills.
Fentanyl has been reported to be 50 times more powerful than heroin by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and is contributing significantly to the increased rate of deaths by overdose. The reason Fentanyl is being mixed with cocaine is to combine the rush of a stimulant with a depressant, which is conflicting to the brain. Others believe that the addition of Fentanyl is by mistake through poor packing quality. Naturally, this is causing widespread panic among states, like Massachusetts and Connecticut, that are experiencing these abrupt shifts in overdose deaths.
For comparison, Fentanyl is 50-100 times stronger than morphine and is prescribed by doctors for pain management. Any kind of drug that affects the neurotransmitter dopamine so strongly is highly addictive. The more dopamine the drug produces, the harder it is to quit the drug. Fentanyl is considered to be more powerful than the street drug, heroin because fentanyl not only induces relaxation and euphoria but also triggers sedation and confusion. In extreme cases, fentanyl can lead to coma or death.
The dangerous aspect of fentanyl is how this type of opioid affects respiration, a necessary regulation for life. All the sedative effects of fentanyl slow down thinking but also slows down respiration and the higher the dose of fentanyl, the higher risk of stopping breathing completely. Heroin already produces some of the effects of fentanyl, so combining fentanyl and heroin together would most certainly stop breathing. The body cannot handle that much relaxation at once.
Tolerance is another part of how death can occur with fentanyl or heroin alone. Over time of continuous use of the drug, the brain adapts to the drug and the user has to up the dosage each time to achieve the same effect. Upping the dosage too much increases the chance of respiratory arrest, which can lead to death. Body temperature and heart rate are also slowed down by the use of fentanyl.
After the epidemic of opioids and now, fentanyl, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is now working with other federal agencies to stop this epidemic by improving accessibility to prevention and treatment facilities. They are attempting to increase the availability of overdose-reversing drugs and are researching addiction further. Treatment facilities like Asana Recovery are working to help addicts overcome their dependency on substances like opioids or alcohol. Techniques like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Life Skills Training are being implemented to reverse the negative thinking that led to drug use and maintained addiction.
Asana Recovery provides a step-by-step process of detox, which involves evaluating the patient’s history, stabilizing the mind after withdrawal starts, and transitioning the patient to residential rehabilitation treatment for addiction. Rehabilitation involves various therapies and group interactions that build a supportive community. They understand the real psychological struggles that users experience when trying to quit a substance or overcome the negative effects of drug use. Contact Asana Recovery at 949-438-4504 to learn more about their treatment programs.