The opioid epidemic has harmed countless individuals and their loved ones across the country in recent years. Despite substantial efforts toward reducing opioid misuse, the nation is far from having this public health crisis under control. If an individual is battling opioid addiction, it is crucial to seek help at an opioid addiction treatment center to get support right away. Please call Red Oak Recovery® at 828.382.9699 for more information about synthetic drug abuse treatment plans.
The Use of Synthetic Drugs and the Opioid Crisis
The opioid epidemic has been raging for years. However, a critical distinction to recognize is that the class of drugs that we are discussing are synthetic opioids. This accounts for the highest rates of overdose and death in any class of drugs. Unfortunately, the United States has seen a significant increase in overdose deaths due to synthetic drug abuse. Synthetic opioids include:
- Fentanyl. This is the most popularly used synthetic opioid by far and is 50 times stronger than morphine.
- Tramadol. Tramadol is a common prescription drug, which is usually prescribed to manage moderate pain and can lead to addiction.
- Carfentanil or carfentanyl. These drugs are significantly more potent than morphine and are used to tranquilize elephants.
- Methadone. This is a medication that is most commonly used in medication-assisted treatments for addressing addictions but has some potential for misuse.
Many of the same harmful effects of taking natural or semi-synthetic opioids occur with synthetic opioids. However, the side effects of synthetic drugs are more pronounced, and it is much more common for them to appear. Lab-derived synthetic opioids are more potent than natural opiates derived from a poppy plant or even their semi-synthetic counterparts. While these drugs are equally as effective for treating pain or achieving a drug-induced high, much smaller doses are necessary for these uses. This critical difference increases the possibility that an individual will ingest too much of the drug and suffer from its harmful effects. Most overdoses and deaths are due to illegal and illicit drug use, not legally prescribed synthetic opioids. People may recreationally use or abuse illicit drugs, such as heroin, which are often cut with synthetic drugs like fentanyl because they are more potent and cheaper.
What Are the Dangers of Synthetic Opioids?
The dangerous effects of synthetic opioid use can happen due to a miscalculation of the amount of drug needed on the user’s part. They may also mix the synthetic drug with other medications, such as nervous system depressants. Overdoses on drugs like fentanyl must usually be reversed quickly, while heroin overdoses could potentially be reversible after a couple of hours. If doctors assume an individual took heroin but ingested a synthetic opioid, an overdose could result from improper treatment. The sensible practice is to assume any street drug in a powder form may be laced with a synthetic opioid and prepare for the possible complications that could result. Access to the life-saving medications Naloxone is a necessary key to overdose prevention.
Synthetic opioids pose many of the same risks and adverse effects observed with most harmful illicit drug abuse. Often legal issues result from the drug use itself and the risk-taking behavior associated with it. Physical problems can result from using drugs, such as infections leading to gangrenous bodily tissue, blood clots, or diseases acquired through needle sharing, such as hepatitis and HIV.
Other harmful side effects specific to synthetic opioid use are :
- Quick path to addiction and physical dependence
- Uncomfortable physical symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, bloating, constipation, and severe itching
- Blurred vision or hearing loss
- Respiratory depression
- Dizziness and fainting
- Loss of consciousness or coma
- Cardiac arrest
As you can see, there are plenty of risks involved in using synthetic opioids. While most prescription synthetic opioid use for pain management does not lead to a harmful addiction, a substantial amount of it does. In such cases, it’s often best to seek treatment.
Get Treatment at Red Oak Recovery® Today
Synthetic opioid addiction won’t go away on its own. Other addictions to street drugs can make a person susceptible to unwittingly ingesting synthetic opioids as well. It is best to get any illicit and harmful drug addictions under control as quickly as possible. Then, you have the best chance of getting your health and well-being back on track. Call Red Oak Recovery® at 828.382.9699 today so that we can help you begin your recovery journey as soon as possible.