Published On: September 1, 2020
Updated On: January 5, 2023
One of the most publicized topics in the United States today is opioid overdose death, particularly regarding the opioid called fentanyl. In 2022, the Drug Enforcement Administration seized over 379 million deadly doses of fentanyl from drug dealers and traffickers, preventing fentanyl overdoses by the thousands.
So, what is fentanyl, and why is it so dangerous?
In this blog, we’ll be looking at the following:
- How strong is fentanyl?
- How does fentanyl make you feel?
- How is fentanyl used in medicine?
- Why is fentanyl so addictive?
- How is fentanyl more dangerous?
How Strong is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that’s 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Pharmaceutical fentanyl was made to provide pain relief in cancer patients by applying a skin patch. Since it has strong opioid properties, it’s also diverted for substance abuse. It’s put into heroin to make it more potent or to disguise it as powerful heroin.
Many individuals think they’re buying heroin but don’t realize they’re buying fentanyl, which often leads to overdose deaths.
How does fentanyl make you feel?
Like morphine, heroin, and other opioids, fentanyl binds to your body’s opioid receptors in the areas of your brain that control emotions and pain. When it binds to these receptors, it raises dopamine levels in the reward centers of your brain and causes intense relaxation and euphoria.
HOW IS FENTANYL USED IN MEDICINE?
When a doctor provides prescription opioids such as fentanyl, it’s typically offered as follows:
- A patch you put on your skin
- A shot
- A lozenge you suck on
- A nasal spray
WHY IS FENTANYL SO ADDICTIVE?
Fentanyl is highly addictive because of the following reasons:
- Fentanyl is a strong synthetic opioid similar to morphine but way more potent (50 to 100 times stronger than morphine).
- Fentanyl affects your central nervous system to a substantial degree. It causes excess amounts of dopamine to flood and alters your brain chemically over time. Because of these neurochemical changes, if you’re prescribed fentanyl, you could become dependent on it.
- Once you develop a tolerance to the drug’s narcotic properties, you’ll depend on it to feel “normal,” which requires you to take more of the drug to experience the previous sensations.
- The stronger a drug, the quicker you become addicted. Fentanyl has a direct effect on the reward system of your brain. It causes your brain to produce dopamine in more abundance than it usually would.
How is Fentanyl More Dangerous?
The various dangers of using fentanyl include:
It’s Often Abused and Part of the Opioid Epidemic
Fentanyl is highly addictive due to its potency. Even if you take fentanyl prescribed by your doctor, you can still become dependent on it, which can cause withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the drug. You can become dependent on it without being addicted, but sometimes, dependence does lead to addiction.
It’s Potent and Can Potentially Cause a Fentanyl Overdose
When a person misuses fentanyl, it can be incredibly fatal, even in highly tiny doses. In its purest form, it comes in white powder form with crystals that resemble table salt.
Since many street drugs are “laced” with other substances, illicit drug makers are beginning to use fentanyl to manufacture heroin. This causes accidental drug overdoses because they don’t realize the heroin they bought contains a lethal dose of fentanyl.
Deaths that involve other synthetic narcotics like fentanyl continued to increase, with over 31,335 overdose deaths in the year 2018.
CONTACT SOUL SURGERY TODAY
If you or someone you know is misusing opioids, especially fentanyl, call Soul Surgery. We provide an extensive range of drug and alcohol treatment programs that will give you all the tools you require to live an addiction-free life. We offer various treatment options that focus on physical, emotional, and behavioral health so that you can find the best-fit recovery for you.