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Why is everyone talking about Fentanyl?

by General Marketing

The potent opioid Fentanyl has been making headlines frequently over the past year, causing people to become alarmed. It’s for quite a good reason, considering opioid overdose deaths are at an all-time high, and fentanyl is finding its way into all kinds of street drugs, harming unsuspecting people. Moreover, the DEA has reported that the presence of “rainbow fentanyl” poses a risk to children and recreational drug users as the colorful pills can be mistaken for candy or other non-opioid illicit drugs popular among young partygoers.

The endless stream of news about fentanyl is scary, and it’s because only a small amount can prove to be fatal. Learning about the basic facts of fentanyl can help settle anxieties while educating the public about a drug that is becoming nearly inescapable.

Fentanyl Facts:

  • It’s a synthetic opioid, which means that it’s not made from the poppy plant like heroin
  • It can be used medically for acute pain, surgery, and end-of-life care
  • It’s 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin or morphine
  • It doesn’t have any distinct smell, taste, color, or texture
  • Illicit fentanyl is most often imported from foreign countries
  • It’s inexpensive to make, and a little goes a long way, so traffickers often mix it with other drugs
  • Illicit fentanyl has been found in pressed pills, nasal sprays, powders, and sublingual strips
  • Doses from illicit fentanyl can vary, making any amount potentially fatal
  • 42% of illegal pills tested to have 2mg of fentanyl, which can be a lethal dose for many
  • Traffickers distribute fentanyl by the kilogram, with the potential to kill 500,000 people
  • Overdose deaths involving opioids rose almost 40% in the past 2 years
  • Synthetic opioid deaths, primarily fentanyl, have risen nearly 56% between 2020-2021
  • About 136 people die every day from opioid overdose, both illicit and prescription

Ways to Stay Safe

People who recreationally use street drugs must be on high alert for fentanyl to be laced into any kind of substance purchased illicitly. Classic harm reduction testing kits are unreliable as they may only check for heroin, which has a poppy plant derivative. New, updated fentanyl test strips are now available and should be used instead, although they are not foolproof depending on user error and various drug formulations.

It’s a good idea for people who use drugs or know others who do to obtain a lifesaving dose of naloxone. Most typically sold or handed out for free as a nasal spray, naloxone can help reverse a suspected overdose while paramedics are on their way to help further.

Fentanyl poses a severe risk to even the most casual illicit drug users, especially those who have been grappling with substance misuse for longer. There’s never been a more critical time to seek help and enroll in outpatient addiction treatment. HCRC provides evidence-based treatment methods for opioid use disorder with the help of FDA-approved medications and substance use counseling. To learn more about the programs available, message or call the friendly HCRC administrative staff at a local facility today.

Medically Reviewed By:

Health Care Resource Centers Clinical Team

Health Care Resource Centers Clinical Team

Health Care Resource Centers Clinical Team

The Clinical Team at Health Care Resource Centers is our team of physicians and medical directors within the organization. HCRC is a CARF accredited organization and has been providing addiction treatment services for over 32 years in the New England area.

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