It is considered as a friend of Heroin, but many times more dangerous than the latter. When compared to Morphine, fentanyl has been found to be 50-100 times more powerful than the former. This is indicative of how fentanyl, a synthetic form of heroin, is highly potent and how, if wrongly prescribed, can be life-threatening to the user. Fentanyl was initially discovered in a laboratory by Paul Janssen in 1960 after a long search of an anesthetic synthetic drug for severe pain relief. Today, the drug is medically used as an opioid pain reliever, which can be taken orally for a short period, or as a patch for long-term pain relief. However, the drug has lately been adopted as a recreational drug, but with devastating effects on its users, a majority of who have died of overdose related complications.
A Deadly Recreational Drug
Fentanyl belongs to the class of other opioids, whose crisis is increasingly becoming unmanageable as drug dealers and users continue to discover its ‘high’ effects. As a result, fentanyl has found its way into the streets, luring an increasing number of people to try it. Nonetheless, some are caught unawares as some peddlers are mixing the original heroin drug with its synthetic friend – fentanyl to increase the potency of a given dose. What makes this possible is the fact that both drugs are very much identical and the potency keeps the users going back for more. But there is a grave danger for this!
Since drugs users are in many cases unawares when fentanyl is mixed with heroin, they will be fooled that their regular peddler sells the good stuff based on the high potency. However, what they do not know is that they are taking an overdose. Furthermore, most peddlers do not have the right measuring instruments, which means that the likelihood of overdosing their clients is high. It is estimated that 30mg of heroin equals 3gm of fentanyl, which is another risk factor for overdose, especially to the ignorant sellers and users. Moreover, due to their identical nature, users, including the sellers, may not know what exactly they are dealing with. This suggests that fentanyl should completely be banished from the streets to avoid overdose and death cases.
Symptoms and Mitigation
So, how should one identify this lethal drug, and how can addicts be freed from its deadly claws? Well, its symptoms include severe respiratory depression, nausea, diarrhea, confusion, headache, and abdominal pain, among others. Continual small intake of fentanyl has also been linked to aphasia, a severe brain damage condition that affects a person’s comprehension and formulation of language. Nonetheless, there is a way out for addicts. Some ways include: detoxification; group or self-therapy; participation in a 12-step program aimed at helping the addicts retrace their footsteps to soberness and dignity; and follow-up procedures, where an addict is assigned someone to help them stay away from drugs. The bad news, however, is that some severe effects are permanent, and hence hard or impossible to reinstate. Thus, the best thing to do is to keep away from fentanyl, except through prescription from a qualified doctor.