In 2019, there were about 70,000 overdose deaths reported in the United States. Of those 70,000, almost 49,000 were related to opiates or a combination of opiates. This is an enormous increase in these devastating dark numbers over the last decade. So why are overdose deaths increasing so dramatically? One main reason: fentanyl. Fentanyl is an extremely strong synthetic opiate that when added with street drugs increases its potency by factors of 10. Unfortunately, that means that these drugs are also that much deadlier when the drug is mixed in with it. Yet the chemical behaves strangely when tested with conventional drug tests. The following article is a resource for you and all the questions that you might have about fentanyl, opiates, and opiate addiction.
What is the History of Fentanyl?
Fentanyl (and its cousin carfentanil) is the strongest opiate known to exist. It can be 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine and can be deadly at the microgram amount (as small as one or 2 grains of sand). There are only 2 legitimate uses for such a strong narcotic one being a treatment for extreme pain, usually in terminal cancer payments. And as a tranquilizer for large animals such as elephants. When prescribed and used correctly, fentanyl is relatively safe and is usually administered via time-released patches where the drug slowly enters the system. The Fentanyl that is responsible for the huge spike in overdose deaths over the last decade is not medically made. Rather, the toxic chemical is usually made in Clandestine labs overseas and then shipped to heroin makers in North America. The drug is then mixed in with heroin thus increasing potency and profits, and then shipped to the United States to fuel a raging opiate epidemic.
Does Fentanyl Show Up on Drug Tests?
Some drug tests won’t be able to pick up a signature of fentanyl at all (there are special tests that look exclusively for the chemical). However, on average the drug will stay detectable in urine for 1 to 3 days after use and in hair for 3 months. Its short half-life and propensity to be missed in some drug tests makes fentanyl (and addiction to it) all the more dangerous.
Why is Fentanyl a Huge Problem Now?
Fentanyl’s infamy is due to several factors. Namely, the demand for the drug has skyrocketed as the opiate epidemic does. So why are so many people addicted to opiates right now? Ten years ago, huge numbers of legal opiates were overprescribed under brand names such as Oxycontin and Percocet. Unfortunately, the flooding of pills into the world left many addicts behind after the wave crested and rolled back. Pills are easy to abuse and once they run out, heroin is where addicts end up turning to. Entire communities have been devastated by opiate addiction. All classes, creeds, and backgrounds are susceptible to the demonic dangers of the drug. Dependency does not discriminate.
What if Someone I Love is Taking Fentanyl?
If someone you know or love is abusing Fentanyl, opiates, or any other drug, there are a myriad of resources available to you. The important thing to remember is that addiction is a disease and is not something to be ashamed of, but it is extremely dangerous. As a former opiate addict, the writer strongly encourages the reader to seek help immediately if opiate addiction is a part of their life in any way. Your life or the life of your loved one is not something to be gambled with. If you or a loved one suffer from fentanyl addiction and want to get help, we at Evoke Wellness at Cohasset, are here to get you, not only on the path to sobriety but to stay on that path and lead a happier and healthier life. Give us a call and one of our specialists will help any way they can.