Fentanyl Dangers and the 8 Things You Need to Know
Fentanyl dangers were brought to light in December 2018 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC announced that fentanyl 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 fentanyl so dangerous? In this blog post, we’ll answer eight common questions about this opioid.
1. What is Fentanyl used for?
Pharmaceutical Fentanyl was originally developed for pain management specifically 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 Fentanyl 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. Fentanyl that is consumed in this way 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 Fentanyl — and when users don’t know they’re consuming it, Fentanyl dangers grow. It’s far too easy for them to overdose.
3. What are the dangers of Fentanyl 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 can be found laced with Fentanyl. Some people intentionally combine Fentanyl with other drugs to enhance the high they feel, but many users often purchase such drugs unwittingly, without knowing that Fentanyl is present. In both cases, mixing Fentanyl with other drugs is incredibly risky and can easily lead to an overdose.
Fentanyl dangers are directly tied to its 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, so many drug users are trying to take precautions. Being able to recognize the presence of Fentanyl is important; however most times you can not tell. One way that may prove affective are Fentanyl test strips and if they are available to purchase. Carrying an 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 Fentanyl?
This is partly what makes Fentanyl so dangerous; because it is such a potent opioid, it can also be extremely addictive. People may be dependent on Fentanyl without being addicted to it, but this dependency can often lead to addiction. It can also be very difficult to treat a Fentanyl addiction because withdrawal symptoms ranging from sleeping problems to cold flashes can quickly kick in.
6. Is Fentanyl 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. Fentanyl is often manufactured in illicit labs, or trafficked into the country from external sources. 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. But if Fentanyl is taken for longer periods of time, it can quickly lead to aggravated and potentially fatal side effects, such as 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 a Fentanyl overdose be treated?
Naloxone can help treat a Fentanyl overdose if it’s administered right away, but multiple doses may be required because Fentanyl is more potent than morphine and even heroin. However, a Fentanyl overdose can be doubly dangerous because it is often mixed into other drugs, which can make it difficult — even for medical professionals — to identify which drug is causing the overdose. Once naloxone has been administered, the person who has overdosed should be monitored and receive immediate medical attention.
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 fentanyl 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, and other countries have placed fentanyl 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 that 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 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) that simplifies the process 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, all you need to do is twist the bottom, and you will have results in approximately 5 minutes. A residual sample is saved so, if necessary, you can use it 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.
For more information on drug testing, click here or call 1-866-242-5930.
Posted by 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 and is a 12 year veteran of the drug testing industry. As a parent and co-worker, Bill’s energy is focused on drug testing on 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, click here or call 1-866-242-5930.
This information is meant for awareness and education purposes only. Any medical or life saving advice should come from experts. Always consult with your physician about any and all drugs. If it is an emergency, dial 911 or call emergency services.