The opioid epidemic in the United States is killing over 60,000 people each year, and the main cause is fentanyl. But, what is fentanyl and what are its uses? More and more people who are abusing drugs are becoming victims of this extremely potent drug for many reasons. Not only are people with an opioid addiction dying of an overdose, but some are mixing it with medications like Xanax. This may have you asking yourself the question of, “what is fentanyl, and is my loved one in danger?”
What is Fentanyl?
The opioid epidemic goes back to the early 2000s when major pharmaceutical companies were wrongfully marketing the drug. Opioids are a synthetic form of opiates that are given to people to help relieve symptoms of moderate to severe pain. It didn’t take long for people to realize how addictive these medications can become, and the pharmaceutical companies had to pay for it. The problem is that even after all of the media attention, these medications are still highly abused and sought by people.
Morphine is one of the purest, potent medications that doctors may prescribe to a person, and some buy it illegally. Aside from morphine, there are many other medications people abuse, but they can get costly. This is why so many people switch to heroin, which is cheaper to buy and even stronger than prescription medications. Surprisingly, fentanyl is a medication only a doctor can prescribe, which is about 100 times more potent than heroin. It doesn’t take much of this medication to cause a person to overdose.
What is Fentanyl Overdose?
Although doctors sometimes prescribe fentanyl to patients, it’s extremely rare, and a person typically has severe chronic pain. Today, most of the fentanyl in the United States is coming from other countries like China. There are many drug dealers and manufacturers of heroin and other drugs which are mixing fentanyl in. Many of the people who are a victim of a fentanyl overdose didn’t even realize their drugs had fentanyl in them.
Some of the symptoms of fentanyl overdose include:
- Depressed breathing
- Blue lips and fingernails
- Losing consciousness
Thankfully, there is now a medication, Narcan, that many refer to as a miracle medication for saving so many lives. This medication acts by quickly removing the opioids from the person’s opioid receptors. Depending on the potency of the drugs, it may take more than one dose of Narcan to revive a person. Some people aren’t fortunate enough to be revived though, which is why your loved one should go to an opioid addiction treatment program.
Getting Help for an Opioid Addiction
Red Oak Recovery is a drug and alcohol treatment program located in Asheville, NC, and we’re here to help people recover. Some of our young adult rehab programs include:
What is fentanyl? Learn more about how dangerous this drug can be and how you can get help. Call Red Oak Recovery today at 828.382.9699.