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sad depressed lonely adolescent teen boyThe heroin epidemic continues to rage throughout all corners of the nation. The devastating effects of heroin have already spread through all neighborhoods, affecting individuals of every background, gender, and social class. However, there is one substance that is more deadly than heroin, is often laced with other drugs, and has been a main contributor to unintentional overdoses: fentanyl.

Many individuals do not necessarily know that they are consuming fentanyl because it is often laced in other drugs on the black market. Fentanyl is extremely fatal and even just consuming one small dosage can kill the user. Understanding the dangers of fentanyl and how it can lead to death can help you or someone you love take preventive measures before this devastating addiction becomes a lifelong struggle.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a type of synthetic opioid painkiller and is used in instances of immense pain after a surgery. It works to bind the opioid receptors in the brain and acts as an agent that creates a euphoric state. The drug acts upon the pleasure-seeking part of the brain and is able to release pain rapidly, making it extremely effective and dangerous.[1]

Fentanyl was meant to be used in intense situations of pain and under extreme care of a medical professional. Its effective results in easing pain rapidly makes it increasingly valued by individuals who are seeking the drug beyond their medical ailments.

How is Fentanyl More Deadly than Heroin?

The dangers surrounding fentanyl continues to surge. Fentanyl is illicitly manufactured and so the strength of it has been shown to be even stronger than morphine and heroin. Research suggests that fentanyl is 80 times more powerful than morphine.[2] In addition, fentanyl is “30 to 50 times more potent than heroin. Just a quarter of a milligram — 0.25 milligrams — can kill you. For a sense of just how little that is, a typical baby aspirin tablet is 81 mg. If you cut that tablet into 324 pieces, one of those pieces would be equal to a quarter-milligram.”[3]

Unfortunately, many people may be consuming pure fentanyl when buying drugs on the black market instead of heroin or other opioid prescription painkillers. Because fentanyl is illicitly manufactured, the deadly drug can appear to look like other drugs or can be laced with other drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, for an even deadlier combination.

Unfortunately, many individuals may begin to start seeking fentanyl because of its ability to have immediate euphoric effects on the user. Fentanyl is highly fat-soluble which makes it activate opioid receptors at a faster rate than other opioids.[4] Because it works at a faster rate, individuals are more likely to become dependent on fentanyl. This may increase their risk for addiction and an unintentional overdose. Fentanyl has proven to have serious health consequences on the abuser because a very small dosage of fentanyl can lead to accidental overdose.

The Fatal Effects of Fentanyl

Unlike heroin, which is not used for any medical ailment, fentanyl should only be prescribed by a doctor. However, because it is illicitly manufactured it has increasingly become hidden in the form of a pill, powder, lozenge, or injectible liquid.

In addition to its many forms on the black market, fentanyl has played a main factor in the heroin epidemic that is destroying this nation. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “the illicitly manufactured versions have been largely responsible for the tripling of overdose deaths related to synthetic opioids in just two years – from 3,105 in 2013 to 9,580 in 2015.”

The rates of fentanyl and heroin use is increasing in the nation and higher dosages of naloxone, a medication used to reverse a heroin overdose, must be used to try and reverse a fentanyl overdose. Because fentanyl is more powerful and deadlier than heroin, it can prove to be difficult to reverse the effects of an overdose in time. This makes it a main contributor to the ongoing opioid epidemic and rising overdose rates.

Taking Action Against the Opioid Epidemic

The demand for opioids are increasing and it has resulted in a broken nation that has created public outcry and a national health emergency. Because so many individuals do not know that they may be consuming fentanyl, now more than ever there must be action taken towards getting individuals suffering from opioid addiction immediate help.

Through detoxification, research based therapy techniques, and connecting the suffering individual with the Church community, addicts can be saved from their opioid addiction and can ultimately prevent an overdose. It is critical to recognize the signs of a drug user and seek a strong spiritual foundation to restore the souls of the individuals who are using drugs to cope with the struggle and pain of everyday life.

Covenant Hills provides high quality care for individuals who have lost their souls on the path of life and need guidance to remain sober. Choosing a 12-step Christian-based treatment program will help to lead you on the path towards lifetime recovery from your drug addiction. Through individual, group, pastoral, and family therapy sessions, you will connect to people with similar experiences as well as to the greater community of God. Connectedness is the foundation of recovery from substance abuse because you will no longer feel the urge to revert to a destructive substance if you are constantly surrounded by God’s love and the family and friends who support you.

If you or a loved one are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, call Covenant Hills treatment specialists today at (800) 662-2873 for a free and confidential assessment.