Heroin Laced With Fentanyl

Heroin laced with FentanylWhile heroin is a commonly known drug, you might’ve heard lately about heroin laced with Fentanyl, yet not know much or anything about Fentanyl. Here is a description:

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, meaning it is made in a laboratory but acts on the same receptors in the brain that painkillers, like oxycodone or morphine, and heroin, do. Fentanyl, however, is far more powerful. It’s 50-100 times stronger than heroin or morphine, meaning even a small dosage can be deadly.

Fentanyl can be produced in illegal laboratories, which means, for the foreseeable future, availability won’t decrease through government regulation. This synthetic opioid is very, very powerful, so it makes a dangerous drug like heroin much more dangerous and deadly. It only takes a small amount of Fentanyl to increase the effects of heroin and cause overdose. Even scarier, some drug dealers are selling a combination of heroin, Fentanyl and cocaine.

Those who buy heroin on the street and start using heroin laced with Fentanyl are at a much higher risk of overdose and death — the drug user becomes dependent on how much Fentanyl is used, their tolerance and other physical factors that in combination can create overdose. It sounds perverted, but a drug dealer might increase business if someone overdoses and dies from heroin laced with Fentanyl, because, on the street, the word of a powerful heroin/Fentanyl mix will likely create a buzz of interest as users seek greater highs. In the experienced user’s mind, they’ll think they can handle the more powerful mixture and that those who died were neophytes.

As congress begins decreasing the amounts of opioids doctors can prescribe, a certain number of patients who’ve become addicted to opioids, but need the drug for management of chronic pain, will seek drugs from alternative sources – if they begin buying synthetic opioids on the black market, this will increase the number of deaths, not lower the number of deaths. I don’t think drug addiction will respond to regulation — it can be treated, though. Heroin laced with Fentanyl is nothing to play with. The entire opiate/opioid addiction epidemic will only get worse until society decides to take action to find fundamental solutions.

From Heroin to Fentanyl

Fentanyl and heroin

Opioid Addiction

You might get confused over terms as you read about opium, opiates and opioids. Heroin, morphine, opium and codeine are opiates produced from the opium poppy plant. The other painkillers you read or hear about or ones prescribed usually by a doctor, such as Percocet, Demerol, Oxycodone, etc., are likely opioid pain killers – opioids are synthetic drugs. So, opium has to do with the poppy plant, opiates are produced from opium and opioids are synthetic, opiate-like drugs. As bad as opiates are for those who become addicted, opioids like Fentanyl are becoming worse.

The drug Fentanyl is an opioid, a synthetic, opiate-like drug that is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. In some areas of the US, Fentanyl is now a larger problem than heroin. According to this NY Times article, in certain New England areas, illicit Fentanyl is coming from Mexico. Although Fentanyl is great for pain relief if applied properly by medical professionals, it’s high risk to buy it off the street because it’s so potent.

The strange part is that when addicts hear about someone overdosing from a strong drug like Fentanyl, they’ll seek it out, thinking they won’t use so much as to kill them, but knowing they’ll get what they consider good product. Addiction and thrill seeking override good judgement. This is from the article:

“It’s just everywhere,” Heather Sartori, 38, a former nurse who is on methadone after years of shooting up heroin, said as she sat at a busy McDonald’s here. “It would be really hard to navigate through this city without being touched by it.”

She said she had lost several friends to fentanyl and called Lawrence’s drug-infested landscape “the treacherous terrain where the ghosts of the fallen linger.”

“It’s cheaper, and the high is better, so more addicts will go to a dealer to get that quality and grade,” she said, even if it means they could die.

“That is the phenomenon of the addicted mind,” she said. “It’s beyond the scope of a rational thinker to understand.”

Hopefully, as the opiate/opioid problem spreads, more resources will arise to intervene, educate and provide treatment. This is not a new problem – opium, opiates and opiate-like drugs have been a problem since opium poppy plants were first discovered thousands of years ago. Today, though, in the 21st century, there are answers to the problem. Also, opiate/opioid addiction should always be considered in the context of addiction in general — still, alcoholism does far more damage to society than opiate/opioid addiction. We’ve come a long way treating addiction, but there’s still a lot that needs to be done.