Tag Archives: fentanyl

Why and How Is Fentanyl Getting Into So Many Drugs?

America is in the midst of the worst drug epidemic in its history. Opiate addiction is ripping apart families nationwide, and addiction to harder narcotics like heroin is on the rise. If your family is one of those affected by opiate addiction, you may have heard of the dangers of a new, more powerful opiate called fentanyl. Unfortunately, overdoses on fentanyl have risen drastically over the past few years. So why and how is fentanyl spreading? In order to answer that question, you must understand what fentanyl is and does.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is an opioid, similar to drugs like oxycontin and morphine. In fact, all opiates are products of the poppy family of plants. Of course, this makes all of these drugs powerful pain killers. Fentanyl is roughly 10,000 times as strong as morphine, and used only in the most extreme and controlled cases for pain management. Unfortunately, as much as a quarter of a teaspoon of fentanyl is easily enough to kill a person, especially one with low or no tolerance to opioids.

 

How is Fentanyl getting into so many drugs?

As drug and law enforcement agents have become more educated on the dangers and ubiquity of opioids, they have cracked down on doctors over prescribing opiates like hydrocodone and oxycontin. Unfortunately, opioid addiction can begin as early as 2 weeks into a pain management treatment schedule, so even those with small doses of prescribed medication can become addicted. As control over prescription pills has tightened, addicts typically turn to the cheaper and more readily available heroin.

Unfortunately, drug dealers have begun cutting their supplies of heroin with small amounts of fentanyl. Fentanyl provides a stronger high for a much smaller dose, so dealers can make more money off of a smaller supply of heroin.

Why is Fentanyl put into so many drugs?

While drug and law enforcement agents have aggressively pursued the manufacturers and suppliers of street opiates like heroin, they have created another problem. Fentanyl is easier and cheaper to create than heroin, and offers a much stronger high for a much smaller amount. As addicts have a much higher tolerance to opiates than non-addicted patients, many of them will seek out the strongest drug possible: fentanyl. In order to stop fentanyl from destroying your community, it is imperative to stop opiate addiction from spreading in the first place with a visit to a rehab center.  Call Genesis House today 800-737-0933

Deadly Fentanyl Showing up in More Drugs

fentanylexhibitsXanax abuse is not as widely discussed as other prescription drug problems, but it is becoming more common. As if the drug wasn’t bad enough when people get addicted, now investigators have discovered that some drug dealers are manufacturing fake Xanax that has been combined with fentanyl.

Among opioid users, Xanax use is a well-known addition to their drug consumption since it produces a different type of high. It may be because of this, that drug dealers have decided to make their own form of Xanax, by mixing it with fentanyl, which is a powerful synthetic opiate that is often given to people who are recovering from surgery.

“Young adults in particular are at high risk for nonmedical use of pharmaceuticals, with estimates that nearly 3 percent of people between the ages of 18 to 25 have engaged in the nonmedical use of pain relievers in the previous month. The nonmedical use of pharmaceuticals represents a serious and burgeoning public health risk. Of great concern is that people may be turning to street dealers to purchase these pharmaceuticals and be exposed to dangerous counterfeit products,” said Annie Arens, a toxicology expert at the University of California, San Francisco.

This new drug combination is showing up in different parts of the country already, as there have been cases in Florida to California. Accidental overdoses are more common when the user is not aware of what they are taking. Many experts are very concerned because of the deadly combination of these drugs.

According to the DEA, fentanyl traffickers have been successful at expanding the market and introducing new drugs laced with it to the U.S. drug market. The National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS) reported that there were 13,002 fentanyl exhibits tested by forensic laboratories across the country in, which is a 65 percent increase from the 7,864 exhibits the year before. There were approximately eight times as many instances in 2015 as there were during the 2006 fentanyl crisis, clearly demonstrating the unprecedented threat and expansion of the fentanyl market.

Fentanyl Increases Heroin Overdose Rates

fentanylAmong the largest number of drug overdose fatalities in history is a subset of opioid users, typically heroin, who unknowingly ingest fentanyl. The drug, which is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine, made headlines again when it was implicated in the death of Prince in Minnesota this year.

Fentanyl is so potent that it is typically prescribed to people with more severe chronic pain in the form of a transdermal patch that slowly releases the drug in small increments. It has been the source of multiple spikes in overdose deaths in recent years ranging from New Jersey to Michigan and Illinois to Massachusetts. Most recently, it has caused numerous deaths in New Jersey again as well as Delaware.

The Pacific Northwest has also had a long history with opiate addiction, and fentanyl has reared its even uglier head there as well. Just north of the border in Vancouver, British Columbia, officials have declared a public health emergency due to the overdoses in the area. According to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control spokesperson Jane Buxton, “We did a study – it was a year ago now – where we asked people what they do – what drugs they’d used in the last three days and asked them to pee in a pot. And then we tested it. And we found 29 percent had fentanyl in their urine. But of those, 70 percent didn’t know they’d taken fentanyl.”

People addicted to opiates wind up taking fentanyl when the heroin they’re using is cut with the drug. It is a way for dealers to dilute the heroin itself at first with other powders and then increase the potency by adding a small amount of the drug. If this at all comes as a shock to you, please remember that they’re intentionally selling highly addictive and deadly drugs to begin with, so it’s not like they’re really concerned about the health or wellbeing of their buyers.

If you have a loved one with a substance abuse problem, contact us to find out more about Genesis House and successful recovery.