Considering a dose of fentanyl can be 100 times smaller than a dose of heroin and produce the same effect, the risks associated with fetanyl overdose have skyrocketed. Fentanyl has become a massive money maker on the streets and users are paying with their lives.

If you or a loved one suffers from addiction, it is imperative that you understand the risks associated with the fentanyl epidemic. Incredibly lethal, it is now one of the most potent and dangerous drugs circulating around the United States.

What Is Fentanyl and How Does It Impact Users?

Simply put, fentanyl is a synthetic opioid approved for severe pain, generally associated with advanced cancer pain. Because it is between 50 and 100 times more potent than morphine, there has been a sharp increase in the rate of illegally made fentanyl, causing a significant rise in overdoses.

When mixed with heroin and/or cocaine, often without the user’s knowledge, death is not an uncommon result. Fentanyl has a direct impact on the brain’s opioid receptors, altering your perception of pain. Once it crosses the blood-brain barrier, users experience an almost immediate feeling of pain reduction.

Although fentanyl acts in the same manner as other opioids in terms of how it binds to receptors, the rate at which it binds is incredibly fast — and the potency can be astronomical. Those who knowingly take it do so because it is even more euphoric, making it highly addictive and dangerous. When a dose is too large, respiratory depression can quickly take your life.

Fentanyl Is Now Killing Tens of Thousands of Americans Each Year

Drug overdoses killed more than 72,000 people in the United States last year, making the drug epidemic more deadly than AIDS, car crashes, and gun violence. The highest number of death rates have been documented in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.

In a recent report, the Centers for Disease Control Prevention found that the number of fentanyl-related overdose death nearly doubled between the last half of 2016 and the first half of 2017. In fact, fentanyl was detected in over 56% of the 5,152 opioid overdose deaths across 10 states, and was the cause of death in over 97% of these cases.

As stated in this 2018 review published in Clinical Chemistry, counterfeit pharmaceuticals that contain mixtures of fentanyl are not being listed as a serious threat to public health. In fact, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Forensic Laboratory Information System reported a 300% increase in fentanyl encounters, from 4,697 in 2014 to 14,440 in 2015 — a number that has continued to rise.

The United States was already facing an opioid crisis and the influx of fentanyl has made the situation even more alarming. Since it is often mixed into other drugs at varying amounts, users do not often know it’s there until they shoot it. Now, some experts believe that this drug could replace heroin altogether — potentially resulting in a much higher death rate.

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Other Drugs Are Often Cut with Fentanyl

Since it’s so dangerous, you may wonder how this epidemic has spiraled out of control. While there isn’t a simple answer, it comes down to the fact that other drugs are being cut with fentanyl, including heroin and cocaine.

Reports have shown that both of the major Mexican cartels are cutting other drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, with cheap opioids — namely, fentanyl, which is most often produced in China. Analysts believe that what began as a problem surrounding the overprescription of legal pain medications has now intensified based on an influx of cheaper alternatives.

In some cases, users knowingly take fentanyl. However, in many cases, they are completely unaware. Once mixed with other drugs, including alcohol and cocaine, the risk of fentanyl overdose significantly increases. Unfortunately, all it takes is a dose the size of a grain of sand to potentially kill someone.

To put this into perspective, when prescribed by a doctor, fentanyl is measured by the millionth of a gram. There is very little margin for error, and users are paying the price, losing their lives at a much more rapid rate.

Get Help Today

Sadly, for many users, treatment today instead of tomorrow could be the difference between life and death. Due to the rise in fentanyl overdose deaths, if you are struggling with addiction, it is imperative that you seek help.

Transformations Drug & Alcohol Treatment Center is here for you today, ready to assist you so that you build the life that you deserve.

To learn more, please refer to the following guides:

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