Fentanyl is a powerful opioid medication often used to treat late stage cancer patients and those recovering from surgery. Fentanyl has made it’s way onto our streets and is often hidden in counterfeit pills or mixed with heroin without the user’s knowledge. In addition, some drug dealers are using an illicit version of fentanyl, to increase the potency of heroin that has been diluted. Drug dealers will also use fentanyl to make their drugs more potent — thus making them more marketable.
Here are 5 things you need to know:
- According to the CDC, “The death rate of synthetic opioids other than methadone, which includes drugs such as tramadol and fentanyl, increased by 72.2% from 2014 to 2015.”
- The drug is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.
- It can take many doses of naloxone or Narcan, a heroin and opioid antidote, to revive someone who overdoses from fentanyl.
- Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz noted that Fentanyl laced heroin contributed to approximately 75% of last year’s overdose deaths in our county (Buffalo News, Thursday January 26, 2017).
- Why do abusers try fentanyl? People who are already addicted to heroin are often looking for a better way re-create the initial high they felt when they were first using. Fentanyl is more potent, thus a next step after pain pills or heroin.
The opioid epidemic rages on in our community. In the first 25 days of January 33 people have lost their lives from suspected opioid overdoes in Erie County alone (Buffalo News) — at this rate the toll is expected to far exceed the number from last year.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use disorder, give our team a call today. We can help get you get clean and support you on the road to recovery. Call (716) 831-1800.