Fentanyl addiction is from a drug among the most bewilderingly powerful opioids in the world. Up to 100 times more potent than morphine, the lethal dosage of fentanyl is about 2 milligrams. Because of its potency, illegal fentanyl is the cause for an alarming number of overdoses, especially in the growing opioid epidemic that has seized the nation.
It’s a drug so powerful that law enforcement crime labs must carry shots of naloxene, to save the lives of their own crew if one of them come into accidental contact (such as inhaling a cloud of the stuff kicked up in a bust) with a dose of fentanyl or its more potent cousin, carfentanil.
To understand what fentanyl is, why it exists, and why Fentanyl addiction is becoming a growing problem, we’ll start by tackling the drug itself.
Exploring Fentanyl Addiction And Traits
Unlike opium, heroin, and other poppy-derived analgesics, fentanyl is a synthetic opiate. First discovered by Paul Janssen some four decades ago, fentanyl and its deadlier cousin carfentanil have gained much deserved notoriety recently for being chiefly responsible for the deaths and overdoses of hundreds of opiate addicts throughout the United States. Often imported through China, which until recently was not regulating fentanyl, it makes its way into the hands of heroin producers who lace their product with the drugs to increase potency at a low cost.
Fentanyl, due to its purely synthetic production, is hard to regulate. Not only can it be illegally manufactured and sold through China, but someone with rudimentary equipment could turn it into an equally or more potent version of Fentanyl addiction not yet passed through regulation.
From a business perspective, selling fentanyl is incredibly risky. Reports have come out that pills disguised as Xanax or Oxycodone have been laced with, or replaced with pure fentanyl on the streets. Combine that with the fact that many heroin users might inadvertently overdose off a new product they haven’t tested before, and it quickly becomes a way to thin out your supply of customers. Since the introduction of fentanyl to America’s black market, opioid overdoses have risen dramatically.
That isn’t to say that the US hasn’t been using fentanyl medically. Fentanyl is typically used as a pain medication after surgery, and in the late stages of terminal cancer. It’s given either laced on blotter paper (the same stuff used to distribute LSD), or in the form of a medical lozenge (a fentanyl lollipop). Due to its potency and risk of Fentanyl addiction, other applications may be too dangerous.
The Dangers Of Fentanyl In Heroin
The way fentanyl and other opiates kill is quite simple. Due to its potency, fentanyl and its cousin aren’t just mere opiates anymore – their potency borders on nerve gas. In fact, it’s been stated of carfentanil several times that its potency is high enough to justify seeing it as a chemical weapon. These are drugs powerful enough to kill people with a few specks of dust.
The drugs bind with the opiate receptors in the brain, inducing an extremely powerful high at the cost of respiratory function. Numbing the body, the drug induces respiratory failure by making it hard, if not impossible to breathe. Your body stops respiration.
The reason it’s so dangerous isn’t just the fact that it is so potent. It’s the fact that it’s impossible to spot. Today’s crisis in America draws its origins from the days of wanton prescriptions in the 80s and 90s, when painkillers were quite abundant, and the medical world was encouraged to sell as many of them as possible. Its full history goes back even further. It wasn’t until after some time that it became apparent just how great the potential for Fentanyl addiction is with opiate-based painkillers – so regulations came in to bottleneck the supply and cut people off from an overflow of drugs.
With no legal alternative and no real access to drug addiction treatment for addiction, or any concrete knowledge around the subject, thousands of Americans turned to other means to satisfy their newfound craving: chief among them was heroin. For a time, heroin was solely responsible for a new and growing list of overdoses, as those who struggled to find a way to keep their addiction under control took increasingly larger doses to fight tolerance, until one day, their dosage killed them.
But when fentanyl-laced heroin became popular, the massively increased potency of the drug led to a new, longer string of overdoses and Fentanyl addiction.
There is no simple solution to Fentanyl addiction – not now, decades after the problem has grown and evolved. But there are measures we can all take to slow, and eventually stop the problem, and they start with education and awareness. No one wants to die from an overdose, and no one wants their life to turn into an endless cycle of withdrawal and blurry euphoria. People need to understand that there are ways to find help for Fentanyl addiction, and that they work. A Los Angeles sober living is a good place to recovery from addiction.
Despite the growth in Fentanyl addiction overdoses over the past few years, a miniscule percentage of Americans actively seek treatment for their Fentanyl addiction or other drug addictions. Healthcare costs are partially to blame, making treatment often unfeasible for those in low-income households. In many other cases, the shame and stigma attached to addiction deters people from admitting their Fentanyl addiction problem and seeking help. But through friends, family, and community leadership, drug addiction can be tackled in a constructive way to lead to less deaths and better recovery.