Facts About Fentanyl
Over 100,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2021—a year-over-year increase of over 30%*. Many of these deaths can be attributed to fentanyl poisoning. Fentanyl was designed as a prescription drug to treat patients with severe pain. However, because it’s a powerful synthetic opioid, it’s illegally manufactured and sold on the street. It’s being produced as a powder, dropped onto blotter paper, put in eye droppers and nasal sprays, or made into pills that look like other prescription opioids. Fentanyl is 50-100 times more potent than morphine or heroin. Only a minuscule amount of this drug will depress the respiratory center of our brain and cause an overdose leading to death.
Our healthcare system, especially dealing with the current COVID pandemic, is overstressed and on the verge of breaking. As a result, patients transported to the ER after an overdose are not receiving the critical “next step” in treatment after being medically stabilized. This is the system gap that Lauren’s Wish hopes to fill. Instead of being released with no specific treatment plans in place, these individuals can elect to be transported to Lauren’s Wish at Hazel’s House of Hope rather than return to their previous circumstances. Having this option can provide the additional time needed to safely care for the individual while attempting to find a treatment option to start their recovery.
*Stats from CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/nchs_press_releases/2021/20211117.htm
Important Facts To Know
- Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic similar to morphine but is 50 to 100^ times more potent. It is prescribed for pain in its prescription form, but fentanyl is also made illegally.
- Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are the most common drugs involved in overdose deaths.
- Illegal fentanyl is sold in the following forms: as a powder, dropped on blotter paper-like small candies, in eye droppers or nasal sprays, or made into pills that look like real prescription opioids.
- Illegal fentanyl is being mixed with other drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and MDMA. This is especially dangerous because people are often unaware that fentanyl has been added.
- Fentanyl works by binding to the body’s opioid receptors, which are found in areas of the brain that control pain and emotions. Its effects include extreme happiness, drowsiness, nausea, confusion, constipation, sedation, tolerance, addiction, respiratory depression and arrest, unconsciousness, coma, and death.
- The high potency of fentanyl significantly increases the risk of overdose, especially if a person who uses drugs is unaware that a powder or pill contains it. They can underestimate the dose of opioids they take, resulting in overdose.
- Naloxone is a medicine that can be given to a person to reverse a fentanyl overdose. Multiple naloxone doses might be necessary because of fentanyl’s potency.
- Medication with behavioral therapies has shown to be effective in treating people with an addiction to fentanyl and other opioids.
Fentanyl Drug Facts from, https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/fentanyl