Fentanyl is a drug that isn’t talked about very often, and fentanyl abuse is more common than a lot of people might think. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid and it is close to 100 times more potent than morphine. It is used primarily in hospitals for anesthesia, but it is also prescribed to cancer patients who are experiencing a lot of pain. Less often, fentanyl is prescribed to people after surgery if the person has developed a tolerance to other pain medications. Fentanyl is used to treat severe pain and is generally used in situations where the pain is expected to last a very long time.
Fentanyl abuse was discussed a lot around the time Michael Jackson died, though it was just one of the many drugs found in his system. Like all drugs, it can be incredibly dangerous and should only be used under the care of a doctor, though unsurprisingly it is often sold and taken illegally. When this drug is discussed, most people are familiar with the fentanyl patch, though there are other forms of the drug. The fentanyl patch is used for chronic pain management and it slowly releases the drug into a person’s bloodstream.
The slow release of the drug should alleviate pain for someone and keep them comfortable for much longer than if they were just taking something else orally. It would also seem that the patch form of this drug would be difficult to use and abuse recreationally, but people have found ways around this and are able to bypass the slow release of the fentanyl.
Another form of the drug is fentanyl lollipops, which are pretty much what they sound like. This form of the drug is very quick acting, and like the fentanyl patches, can be extremely dangerous. Both the fentanyl patches and the fentanyl lollipops come in different dosages. Fentanyl can also be made in powder form, making it very pure and very dangerous.
Common Fentanyl Side Effects
- diarrhea and nausea
- dry mouth
- feeling dizzy
- headaches and abdominal pain
- damage to the liver
- respiratory depression – can’t get enough oxygen
Some of the desirable effects that lead to fentanyl abuse are sedation, euphoric feelings and relaxation.
It is not uncommon for drug dealers to mix fentanyl with heroin or cocaine, though the person buying the drugs would have absolutely no way of knowing this. Someone might use the same amount of cocaine or heroin that they usually do, but the unknown addition of fentanyl can cause overdose and death. Over the last 6 or 7 years, there have been a lot of instances where this has happened. It is so potent and can be so dangerous that there have been many news conferences held by public officials warning the public about the addition of fentanyl into other drugs.
As recently as today, June 28th 2013, Pennsylvania has issued a warning because it seems that fentanyl is becoming more common again in the region. Medical examiners have been instructed to screen for fentanyl in all apparent heroin overdoses and deaths so they can determine if fentanyl is indeed being added to heroin without the user knowing, causing more deaths than usual. Other areas have had problems with this fentanyl mixture as well, including Chicago, Detroit, and New York. Obiously it would be ideal for people to not use heroin, but people realize that is unrealistic and are at least trying to do their best to warn people. If you have a problem with fentanyl abuse or with any other drug, it’s important to at least be realistic about the possible outcomes. Help is available, and it’s always possible to live a life where you’re not dependent on drugs.