The 1990s brought with it fun things like fanny packs, the grunge style, scrunchies, crimped hair, and some pretty memorable music. But as opioid prescriptions became more common, it also brought the first rise in opioid overdose deaths in the U.S.
Then, in 2010 came a significant increase in deaths due to heroin overdose.
And in 2015, fentanyl surpassed heroin as the deadliest drug in the U.S. Since then, the numbers have only continued to rise.
What is Fentanyl?
Like heroin, fentanyl is synthetically created in laboratories. However, unlike heroin, which is derived primarily from the opium poppy plant, fentanyl is entirely lab manufactured. There are two types of manufactured fentanyl:
- Pharmaceutical fentanyl – prescribed by doctors to treat pain, especially after surgery or during advanced-stage cancer
Prescription fentanyl names include:
- Actiq ®
- Duragesic ®
- Sublimaze ®
- Illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF) – made and distributed through illegal drug markets and used for its heroin-like effects
Common street names for IMF include:
- Murder 8
- Dance Fever
- Tango and Cash
IMFs can come in many liquid and powdered forms and can be added to pills, eye drops, candy, and nasal sprays.
Why is Fentanyl So Dangerous?
As an opioid, fentanyl does what opioids do. They take away pain and provide a feeling of euphoria. Obviously, if you’re prescribed fentanyl, you’re in extreme pain. While you can become addicted to prescription fentanyl, the chances of overdose tend to be less than if you’re taking IMFs, as long as you take them as your doctor ordered.
Both pharmaceutical and illicitly manufactured fentanyl are dangerous. But most overdoses are linked to IMFs because they are sold illegally. In other words, there’s no ingredient list when you buy IMFs. So you never know what’s in the drugs you’re buying.
IMFs are often added to other illegally-sold opioids like Xanax, Metformin, Adderall, and Oxycodone to make them more potent and addictive – and dangerous.
And that means if you’re addicted to fentanyl, you’ll keep coming back for more. All it takes is one too many trips to your local IMF dealer to land you in the morgue.
The more severe fentanyl dangers are found in IMFs. Because fentanyl is 100x stronger than morphine and 50x more potent than heroin, even a seemingly small amount could lead to overdose.
To give you a visual of the amount of fentanyl that could kill a grown man, take a look at this picture from the New Hampshire state police forensic lab. The vial on the left contains 30 milligrams of heroin. The vial on the right has 3 milligrams of fentanyl.
Both could kill you.
How Fentanyl Became the Deadliest Drug in America
To put it simply, the fentanyl epidemic in this country is because it’s easy to get, and it’s relatively inexpensive compared to other street drugs like heroin.
Once drug dealers caught wind of the fact that they could get cheap fentanyl shipped directly to them from poorly-regulated labs in China, they jumped at the opportunity. Rather than spending 50 times as much as they would to get a shipment of heroin, they buy fentanyl.
Then they cut their heroin with fentanyl. To them, it’s a win-win because they get more products for less money. And that means more profit, even if it does mean more deaths.
Finding Opiate Addiction Treatment in San Diego
It’s easy to see that fentanyl dangers are real. Whether you or someone you love is addicted to prescription fentanyl or IMFs, getting help is crucial, perhaps even life-saving.
When you’re addicted to fentanyl, just like any addiction, you likely feel ashamed and terrified at the idea of giving up something you’ve become so dependent on. But if you are looking for opiate addiction treatment in San Diego, we can help you here at BOLD Health.
We offer several different treatment types if you are battling addiction. When you partner with our team of highly-educated and experienced clinicians, you get the best addiction treatment in the San Diego area. We’ll meet you with compassion, understanding, patience, and absolutely zero judgment.
Because our unique approach to treating addiction centers around you as a whole individual, rather than just your addiction symptoms, your chances of recovery are greater here at BOLD Health. We look at your genetic makeup and the steps that lead you to addiction.
We’ll design a customized treatment plan that could include one or more of the following therapy types:
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Outpatient detox
- Intensive outpatient program
The Best Intensive Outpatient Program in San Diego
If you are addicted to fentanyl, you may benefit most from our intensive outpatient program (IOP) in San Diego. Our IOP is a highly-structured rigorous treatment designed to deliver positive results and break the chains of addiction.
Over ten weeks, you’ll attend intensive individual sessions with your assigned clinician and talk with others going through similar situations in group therapy. And if your clinician believes you could benefit from medication management to treat withdrawal symptoms, that may be a part of your customized addiction treatment program as well.