There is and has been a national crisis of opioid abuse in our country. Opioids are prescribed painkillers, synthetic opioids, and illegal drugs such as Codeine, Heroin, Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Methadone, Morphine, and Oxycodone. Some of these are prescribed daily for pain. Some patients such as those who suffer severe pain due to cancer, are prescribed more than one. One prescription may be a long-acting pain medication and another may be a short-acting pain medication in case there is some breakthrough pain that isn’t managed by short-acting dosages.
More About Fentanyl Potency
Some of these short-acting medications include fentanyl patches or lozenges. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. It is a prescription drug that is also made and used illegally. Like morphine, it is a medicine that is typically used to treat patients with severe pain, especially after surgery. It is also sometimes used to treat patients with chronic pain who are physically tolerant to other opioids. Tolerance occurs when you need a higher and/or more frequent amount of a drug to get the desired effects. Synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, are now the most common drugs involved in drug overdose deaths in the United States. In 2017, 59.8 percent of opioid-related deaths involved fentanyl compared to 14.3 percent in 2010.
Why is Injected Fentanyl So Dangerous?
Fentanyl is roughly 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin. It is the most potent opioid pain reliever available for use in medical treatment. And it is now widely available on the street and it more dangerous than ever because drug users generally don’t know when their heroin is laced with fentanyl, so when they inject their usual quantity of heroin, they can inadvertently take a deadly dose of the substance. Also, while dealers try to include fentanyl to improve potency, their measuring equipment usually isn’t fine-tuned enough to ensure they stay below the levels that could cause users to overdose. Plus, the fentanyl sold on the street is almost always made in a clandestine lab; it is less pure than the pharmaceutical version and thus its effect on the body can be more unpredictable. Heroin and fentanyl look identical, and with drugs purchased on the street, you don’t know what you’re taking so you take a risk every time. So a breakdown of the drug Fentanyl:
- Fentanyl works in the brain to block pain and is in the same class of drugs as morphine or hydrocodone but is about 50 to 100 times more potent.
- Just 2 to 3 milligrams of this drug can kill a person. It blocks opioid receptors and its most dangerous side effect — like other opioids — is respiratory depression, which can quickly lead to coma and death.
- Users may not realize the street drug they are buying from a dealer contains this potentially lethal compound.
- Over 70,230 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States in 2017. Between 2013 and 2016, overdose deaths involving this drug increased by 113% annually.
- In 2017 the steepest increase in drug overdose deaths occurred with this opioid and related analogs at over 28,400 deaths, according to the CDC.
Fentanyl Recovery at Evoke Wellness MA
Because of fentanyl’s potency, it is very addictive and causes painful withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the drug to get high. At Evoke Wellness MA, we can get you on the right path to recovery and end your addiction to fentanyl or any other opioids through a medical detox and addiction treatment. Medically assisted detox becomes necessary when a person becomes physically, mentally, and emotionally dependent upon a drug. It involves a supervised detox process where our medical professionals and doctors create a personalized detox program specifically for you and monitor you and help ease the side effects to a minimum while your withdrawal from the drugs. At our Massachusetts detox center, we offer you 24-hour assistance from our medical staff to make sure you stay safe at all hours.