Opioid addiction is a scary truth and, according to recent studies, a very dangerous trend that is on the rise in the United States. Recently, scientists have labeled fentanyl, a potentially dangerous narcotic and painkiller, as a primary cause behind the recent opioid crisis. Only two years ago, in 2016, doctors determined that renowned performer Prince died from a fentanyl overdose, and the synthetic drug continues to claim lives in our country. So, what makes fentanyl a potentially life-threatening drug?
A Closer Look at Fentanyl
Fentanyl is an FDA-approved synthetic opioid that is typically prescribed as a painkiller or anesthetic. By design, it reacts much faster than other substances like morphine or heroin and has been designed to stimulate the release of dopamine, resulting in euphoric sensations. Doctors usually prescribe this drug for easing pain after surgical procedures or helping people cope with chronic pain. Fentanyl is distributed as a patch, shot, or lozenge.
Overall, fentanyl is particularly dangerous due to its instant effect on the human brain. Exceeding the prescribed dose by a small percentage can result in painful or (in the worst case scenario) fatal consequences. The synthetic nature of the drug makes it especially easy to construct in laboratories. Illegal versions of fentanyl are distributed as pills, powder, or injectable liquids.
Impact on the United States Opioid Crisis
The appearance of synthetic drugs like fentanyl has only contributed to the deadly opioid addiction crisis that is plaguing the United States. Recent studies have shown that opioid-related deaths have increased by a staggering 21.5% since 2016, a spike since the 11.6% increase in 2015. Even more disturbing is the fact that two-thirds of a total of 64,000 opioid overdose deaths were caused by fentanyl abuse or addiction. As of 2016, two US states that experienced the highest percentage of opioid deaths were:
- New Hampshire: (30.3 fatalities out of 100,000 people)
- West Virginia: (26.3 fatalities out of 100,000 people)
- Massachusetts: (23.5 fatalities out of 100,000 people)
What people do not realize is that drug dealers use fentanyl to “water down” packages of heroin, resulting in a lethal chemical mixture. After consuming the combination of synthetic and naturally occurring opioids, people can ultimately die due to toxic chemical reactions in their bodies. Additional contaminants in the synthetics can also instigate additional side effects. One mixture with an especially infamous reputation is Gray Death, a lethal powder that contains variable mixtures of heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil (elephant tranquilizer), and U-47700 (another synthetic opioid).
Remember that drugs do not have control over your life. You do. If you are suffering from addiction or abuse or have a friend or family member suffering from these illnesses, get in touch with Asana Recovery. Counselors and healthcare experts can walk you through every step of the detox and withdrawal process and help guide you to a happier, healthier, and freer lifestyle. While it might not be an easy road to travel, we promise to help you every step of the way. Take the first step to keep you and your unborn child safe.
The time for you to take back control of your life is now. If you are interested in one of our residential treatment or supervised detoxification/withdrawal programs, we are ready and waiting to speak with you at your disclosure. Call Asana now at (949) 438-4504 to learn how to overcome your drug addiction troubles today.