In the depths of addiction, when prescription opioids become difficult and expensive to procure, people start turning to heroin to fill the void. Now, a new opioid is wreaking havoc and causing overdoses throughout the nation: Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is 50-100 times more potent than morphine and 25-50 times more potent from heroin. Sadly, its presence is spiking, and so are its death tolls.
Tens of thousands of people die each year from opioids, and another 8,000 from heroin Though it’s not clear exactly how many people are dying from fentanyl overdoses each day, the numbers are growing significantly. Fetanyl is especially dangerous because it is sometimes mixed with heroin or cocaine, without the buyer’s knowledge.
“Fentanyl is always mixed into something else. So you’re putting a lot of trust in your dealer. If you make a batch with just a little more, then you see overdose increases in spots in the city.”
There is no real difference in the way fentanyl works on the brain from other opioids. It crosses the blood-brain barrier, and binds the brains opioid receptors, creating analgesia and euphoria. The difference is that fentanyl binds more quickly, and is therefore very euphoric. It also takes less of the drug to drug to get an equal high—meaning its more lethal at lower doses than heroin.
Fentanyl also produces a number of other effects–nausea, vomiting, analgesia, sedation and respiratory depression among them, according to drugabuse.gov. It can also causes death via respiratory arrest.
Source: Forbes, Pulse Headlines