Fentanyl addiction is a growing concern in the Western world. The drug is closely related to addictive opiates like morphine and heroin, only significantly more potent in its effects.
This makes it cheap and highly available in the black market.
People often take fentanyl intentionally for its euphoric high, and to satisfy withdrawal symptoms initiated by other prescription or non-prescription painkillers. Others become hooked on the drug after taking party drugs like MDMA or cocaine laced with the addictive substance.
We’ll go over the following topics throughout the course of this article:
- Whatfentanyl is and what makes it so addictive
- How to tell if someone is addicted to fentanyl
- What to do if someone you know is going through fentanyl addiction
- How to identify fentanyl (and other opiates) overdose and what you can do to help them
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a prescription painkiller used for breakthrough pain — pain that can’t be alleviated by other painkillers like morphine or Oxycontin.
It’s useful for this purely because of its potency. It’s considered 50 times more potent than morphine.
That’s not where it ends though, there are actually a few different types of fentanyl, each with different levels of potency.
Carfentanil, for example, is roughly 10,000 times more potent than heroin.
This makes fentanyl extremely addictive, and highly lethal.
What is Fentanyl Used For?
Fentanyl is extremely potent and is generally reserved for severe, or breakthrough pain in hospitals. It’s used when other painkillers fail to produce enough effects.
Some common uses of fentanyl in the hospital setting include:
- End of life cancer care
- Severe traumatic injury
- Post surgery care and recovery
The strongest form of fentanyl, carfentanyl, is so potent that it’s not even used on humans in the hospital setting. It’s reserved for large animals in veterinary care, such as elephants, horses, and cows.
Many drug dealers and manufacturers on the black market will lace heroin, cocaine, or MDMA with fentanyl to increase their profit margins. The drugs potent effects mean that only a very small amount is needed to produce effects like euphoria, sedation, and hallucinations.
It also means that only a small amount of the drug is needed to cause overdoses, however.