Fentanyl — The poison of choice

The major contributor to fatal and nonfatal overdoses in the U.S

Parents are worried or, if not, you should be. Stories are surfacing from all over the U.S. related to fentanyl deaths. Most of the overdose victims were not even aware that the drugs were laced with fentanyl. It is easy to obtain and cheap to buy, so fentanyl has become the poison of choice for substance abusers. What is Fentanyl ? The Center for Disease Control (CDC) stated that Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. It is a major contributor to fatal overdoses in the U.S. There are two types of fentanyl: pharmaceutical fentanyl and illicitly manufactured fentanyl. Both are considered synthetic opioids. Over 150 people die every day from overdoses related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Drugs may contain deadly levels of fentanyl, and you wouldn’t be able to see it, taste it, or smell it. It is nearly impossible to tell if drugs have been laced with fentanyl. Illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF) is available on the drug market in different forms, including pills, liquid, and powder. What to look for Fentanyl is often seen in blue, greenish, or pale colored counterfeit pills. There may be other colors. These pills may be marked as “M30” and sometimes as “K9,” “215,” and “v48.” Fentanyl may also be in white powders. Oxycodone pills that are sold on the street or online are likely to contain fentanyl. Powdered fentanyl looks just like many other drugs. It is commonly mixed with drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine and made into pills that are made to resemble other prescription opioids. Fentanyl-laced drugs are extremely dangerous, and many people may be unaware that their drugs are laced with fentanyl. In its liquid form, can be found in nasal sprays, eye drops, and dropped onto paper or small candies. Street Names for Fentanyl — Apache — Dance Fever — Friend — Goodfellas — Jackpot — Murder 8 — Tango & Cash. CDC Some Statistics for Fentanyl

  • Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is approximately 50 times more potent than morphine.

  • Many people are exposed to fentanyl without knowledge while others use it intentionally because of its potency.

  • Over 80,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2020.

  • Synthetic opioids, like illegal fentanyl, appear to be the main driver of the 38.4% increase in overdose deaths.

  • Fentanyl is increasingly found in the street drug supply of all types of substances all over the country.

  • Cocaine, Meth, or Heroin: In a 10-state study, almost 57% of people who died from an overdose tested positive for fentanyl also tested positive for cocaine, methamphetamine, or heroin.

  • Benzos, Cocaine, or Meth: In 25 states, illegally manufactured fentanyl deaths increased by 11%. Benzodiazepines, cocaine, or methamphetamine were present in 63% of opioid deaths.

  • Cocaine/New York: Increase in deaths involving fentanyl and cocaine accounted for 90% of the increase in cocaine-related mortality.

  • Cocaine/Florida: The number of overall cocaine deaths almost doubled and the proportion of these deaths involving fentanyl increased from 32.6% to 52.4%.

Fentanyl and Overdose Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are the most common drugs involved in overdose deaths. Even in small doses, it can be deadly. Over 150 people die every day from overdoses related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Signs of overdose Recognizing the signs of overdose can save a life. Here are some things to look for:

  • Small, constricted “pinpoint pupils”

  • Falling asleep or losing consciousness

  • Slow, weak, or no breathing

  • Choking or gurgling sounds

  • Limp body

  • Cold and/or clammy skin

  • Discolored skin (especially in lips and nails)

How to help someone If you know or think someone is struggling with addiction, ask them if you can help. Your concern might be just what they need to start their recovery journey, and your support could make all the difference in their success. Look for information on your state or local health department’s website or ask your healthcare provider for treatment and referral services available in your area.

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