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Fentanyl Dangers and the 8 Things You Need to Know

By Bill Nee, VP Sales/Marketing uVera Diagnostics

Fentanyl dangers came to light in December 2018 with a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC announced that the drug had surpassed heroin to become the drug most often involved in deadly overdoses. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid painkiller that can be anywhere from 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.

What makes Fentanyl so dangerous?

Fentanyl deaths doubled every year from 2013 to 2016 as the drug rapidly spread through the American market. But exactly what makes it so dangerous? In this blog post, we’ll answer eight common questions about this opioid.

1. What is the purpose of Fentanyl?

Pharmaceutical Fentanyl was originally developed for pain management in people undergoing cancer treatment. In a medical setting, it is typically used to treat patients with severe or chronic pain often using a patch on the skin, an injection, or a lozenge.

However, recently the drug made its way into heroin to increase its potency — and when people purchase heroin, they don’t always know it contains a potentially fatal dose of Fentanyl. When it is consumed in this way, it is often sold as a powder and can induce an intense but temporary high.

2. Why are we hearing so much about Fentanyl dangers?

Recent data from the CDC has indicated that Fentanyl overdoses are on the rise. In the midst of the ongoing opioid epidemic, Fentanyl dangers have become increasingly associated with and responsible for opioid addiction and overdose. It is profitable for people selling heroin or other drugs to lace their products with it — and when users don’t know they’re consuming it, the dangers grow. It’s far too easy for them to overdose.

3. What are the dangers when mixed with other drugs?

Fentanyl is often mixed into many drugs that are sold on the street, such as heroin, cocaine and other drugs coming in pill form. Even illicit Xanax or oxycodone may be laced with it. Some people intentionally combine it with other drugs to enhance the high they feel, but many users often purchase such drugs unwittingly, not knowing it is present. In both cases, mixing Fentanyl with other drugs is incredibly risky and can easily lead to an overdose.

The dangers are directly tied to the drug’s potency. Some people may not have any opioid tolerance, for example, while others may take a fatal amount of Fentanyl without realizing it.

4. How can we tell if Fentanyl has been mixed into another drug?

In New York City alone, Fentanyl has been responsible for approximately 44 percent of overdose deaths. Therefore, many drug users are trying to take precautions. Being able to recognize the presence of it is important. However, most times you can not tell. One way that may prove effective is Fentanyl test strips when they are available to purchase. Carrying the overdose prevention medication Naloxone doesn’t help you detect the drug, but it could save your life if the drug you’re taking is mixed with Fentanyl.

5. Can people get addicted to it?

This is partly what makes Fentanyl so dangerous; because it is such a potent opioid, it can also be extremely addictive. Dependency on Fentanyl does not necessarily mean addiction, but can often lead to it. It can also be very difficult to treat addiction because withdrawal symptoms ranging from sleeping problems to cold flashes can quickly kick in.

6. Is it illegal?

The FDA has only approved Fentanyl for medical use in specific cases, but most Fentanyl distribution and consumption in the U.S. is actually illegal. Illicit labs and illegal trafficking are often the sources of Fentanyl on the streets. Physicians only prescribe Fentanyl for extremely severe or chronic pain, and using the drug outside these circumstances is not only dangerous — but also against the law.

7. What are the effects of Fentanyl?

In the short term, Fentanyl can have similar effects of heroin, such as pain reduction, euphoria and a sense of relaxation. However, Fentanyl taken for longer periods has aggravated and potentially fatal side effects. These include seizures, drowsiness, vomiting, weakness, hallucinations and difficulty breathing. Fentanyl’s high potency can eventually lead to an overdose, often due to respiratory failure.

8. How can an overdose be treated?

Naloxone helps treat a Fentanyl overdose if administered right away. However, multiple doses may be required because Fentanyl is more potent than morphine and even heroin. In fact, a Fentanyl overdose is doubly dangerous due to the tendency to mix it with other drugs. This makes it difficult — even for medical professionals — to identify which drug is causing the overdose. Administer naloxone, then monitor the person who has overdosed and ensure they receive immediate medical attention.

White eyedropper upside down dripping on a blue background for Fentanyl

Fentanyl prescribed by a doctor and taken as instructed

Fentanyl, prescribed by a doctor and taken as instructed, can be an incredibly useful drug for patients who are experiencing severe pain after surgery, or who have chronic pain conditions. Outside these circumstances, however, the illicit consumption of this drug is extremely dangerous and illegal. It’s too easy to be unaware that another drug has been laced with fentanyl, and fentanyl on its own is so potent that its addictive potential is amplified.

Overdose deaths from opioids like Fentanyl have prompted the U.S. to declare a national emergency. In addition, other countries have placed the drug on their controlled substance list. We hope this blog gives you an idea of precisely what makes fentanyl so dangerous, as well as, the precautions people can take to avoid it altogether.

uVera Diagnostics has a variety of FDA 510(k) cleared and CLIA waived test kits.

uVera Diagnostics has a variety of FDA 510(k) cleared and CLIA waived drug test kits. All are affordable, convenient, simple to administer, 99 percent accurate, and fast providing results.

Set to SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) cut-off levels, our urine drug test kits are used by businesses and organizations in a wide range of industries from staffing to medical to criminal justice to construction and more.

Among our most popular testing kits is our CR3 Drug Test Cup. This patented test cup has an innovative design (including a large opening, slanted top, and snap-shut lid). As a result of this design, the process is simplified for drug test administrators. The CR3 Drug Test Cup is a keyless split-sample cup that comes in 5-panel, 6-panel, 10-panel, 12-panel, and 14-panel options. To start the test, simply twist the bottom, and you will have results in approximately 5 minutes. There is a residual sample for GC/MS confirmation.

Also widely used because of its convenience and fast results is our All-in-one Urine Drug Test Cup. This one-step urine test uses an integrated test cup and is available in a variety of panel options (5 panel, 6 panel, 7 panel, 10 panel, 12 panel).

We have many other drug testing kits, as well, that you can use for random drug testing. Contact us today if you have any questions about how we can help you fulfill your drug-free workplace initiative.

Want more information? You may find the following articles helpful.

uVera Diagnostics has a variety of FDA 510(k) cleared and CLIA waived test kits.

These are affordable, convenient, simple to administer, 99 percent accurate, and fast in providing results.

Set to SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) cut-off levels, our urine drug test kits are used by businesses, organizations and agencies in a wide range of industries from staffing to medical to criminal justice to construction and more. We make it easy for you to search for information and drug tests by type of drug tested too. This includes drug descriptions, street names, what the drugs look like, the dangers and side effects, links to the drug tests for each drug, etc.

Among our most popular testing kits is our CR3 Drug Test Cup. This patented test cup has an innovative design (including a large opening, slanted top, and snap-shut lid) that simplifies the process for drug test administrators. Also widely used because of its convenience and fast results is our All-in-one Urine Drug Test Cup. This one-step urine test uses an integrated test cup and is available in a variety of panel options (5 panel, 6 panel, 7 panel, 10 panel, 12 panel, 13 panel and 14 panel). uVera Diagnostics products also include T-Cup Drug Tests, Dip Panel Drug Tests, Generic Dip Panel Drug Tests and Saliva Drug Tests

About Bill Nee, VP Sales/Marketing uVera Diagnostics and Co-designer and Developer of the CR3 split-sample drug test cup.

Bill has 27 years in sales management and marketing. In addition, he is a 12-year veteran of the drug testing industry. As a parent and co-worker, Bill’s focuses his energy on drug testing at every level. Addiction is all around us in alcohol, prescriptions, and street drugs, and that is a constant reminder a drug-free society starts with each and every one of us.

For more information on drug testing, call 1-866-242-5930.

 

 

 

This information is meant for awareness and education purposes only. In addition, any medical or life-saving advice should come from experts. Always consult with your physician about any and all drugs. In conclusion, if it is an emergency, dial 911 or call emergency services.

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