Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid drug up to 100 times stronger than morphine. The drug has become increasingly popular in the illicit market — and it can be deadly. In this guide, you’ll learn what Fentanyl is, its effects, and the dangers associated with this dangerous drug.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is an illicit synthetic opioid drug that is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine. It has been abused because it produces a powerful, euphoric high when used in large doses. Fentanyl has been found in a variety of products — from pills and patches, to nasal sprays and injectables. It can also be found packed into heroin, cocaine, or even pressed into counterfeit pill forms of other drugs like oxycodone and MDMA.
How is Fentanyl Used?
Fentanyl is commonly used in a variety of ways. It can be taken intravenously or snorted, smoked, or applied as an adhesive patch or gel on the skin. It can also be swallowed as pills or mixed with other drugs. Taking fentanyl in any form can pose serious risks to a person’s health, including accidental overdose and long-term health consequences related to misuse.
What Are the Short-Term Effects of Using Fentanyl?
Fentanyl use can cause a number of short-term effects, including drowsiness, confusion, nausea, vomiting, constipation, slowed heart rate and breathing, slurred speech, and impaired coordination. Additionally, using higher doses of fentanyl can result in life-threatening respiratory depression. This is when breathing slows to the point where not enough oxygen enters the body to support it. If not treated immediately, respiratory depression can lead to coma and death.
What are the Long Term Effects of Using Fentanyl?
The long-term use of fentanyl can have a range of serious effects. People who take fentanyl for prolonged periods may be at increased risk for developing an addiction, overdose, organ damage, and withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop taking the drug. Additionally, injections of the drug can lead to collapsed veins and scarring around the injection site. Respiratory depression is also a potential risk with chronic use.
The Dangers of Overdosing on Fentanyl
One of the most serious risks associated with fentanyl use is overdosing. Fentanyl is extremely powerful and even a small amount can cause an overdose, which can be fatal. Common symptoms of an overdose include extreme fatigue, shallow breathing, nausea, confusion, dizziness, and a slowed or irregular heartbeat. If these symptoms are present, it’s imperative to seek emergency medical attention right away.
What does the science say
The use of fentanyl and its analogs has resulted in a public health crisis, leading to a surge in opioid-related overdoses. Fentanyl overdose can cause respiratory depression, cardiovascular effects, and neuropsychiatric symptoms that can be lethal. Although naloxone is commonly used as a rescue drug for fentanyl overdose, its effectiveness varies. To address this issue, more research is required to develop individualized medication-assisted treatments for patients who suffer from fentanyl overdose. In addition, we need to implement large-scale harm reduction strategies such as distribution of naloxone, innovative studies, and development of novel drugs to combat the social, economic, and health problems associated with the use of fentanyl and its analogs. Source: The rising crisis of illicit fentanyl use, overdose, and potential therapeutic strategies