Fentanyl abuse began increasing in 2011. By 2015, it had started the most recent wave of the Opioid Crisis in America. Fentanyl is very strong — 50x stronger than heroin. And it has caused more overdose deaths than any other substance in the past decade.
Part of the problem is that some people do not realizing they are using fentanyl when they overdose on it. Because fentanyl is cheap to make, drug dealers will sometimes mix it into other substances to increase how much that substance weighs, which determines how much they can sell it for. Essentially, drug dealers are intentionally mixing fentanyl into cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, or ecstasy in order to make more money.
An even bigger issue is that fentanyl can be made into pills that look like other drugs such as xanax or vicodin. All of this leads to the question: what does fentanyl look like?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid. Meaning it’s a pain killer that was made in a lab. Fentanyl was specifically designed to be potent. It’s roughly 100x stronger than morphine and 50x stronger than heroin. This makes it a popular choice for drug dealers looking to dilute their product and make money. For instance, replacing white heroin powder with baby powder and some fentanyl to retain potency.
The truth is fentanyl can be hard to spot. Especially when it’s mixed in with other drugs. But there are a few things you can do:
Check the color. In most cases fentanyl is brown. Many drugs like cocaine or meth are often white in color. If the powder is brown, it could be fentanyl.
However, just because a drug is brown does not necessarily mean that it is fentanyl. Some forms of heroin are brown, and depending on what other substances have been cut into a drug, the drug can appear brown for reasons other than fentanyl
Use a Fentanyl Test Strip
Fentanyl test strips are cheap and easy to use. To check a drug for fentanyl, simply place a small amount of the drug in a very small amount of water. Place the strip into the water, and wait. If the test is positive, the drug has traces of fentanyl.
Don’t Trust Pill Appearance
It is very easy for manufacturers and dealers to make fentanyl into pills that look like ecstasy, xanax, klonopin, or other drugs. Even if the stamp on the pill looks like the drug you are expecting, always use a fentanyl test strip to confirm.
Fentanyl has been surging into communities disguised as other drugs. People intending to use other drugs buy it and unknowingly use fentanyl. Unfortunately, because fentanyl is so potent, if someone accidentally uses it they will likely overdose since they have no tolerance to opioids.
Since it’s not likely that drug dealers and manufactures will starting placing public health above their profit, it’s important for people to be able to protect themselves from accidentally using fentanyl.
Using fentanyl test strips is an easy way to detect the drug, however strips may not always detect fentanyl. Particularly if it’s a smaller amount. So the best way to avoid fentanyl would be to stop using narcotics.
For people who have become hooked on fentanyl, knowingly or unknowingly, the first step is detox. At a medical detox center patients receive around the clock supervision as well as medications intended to gently ease your body off opioids. Essentially, medical detox makes withdrawal symptoms very manageable.
After attending a medical detox, the next step for fentanyl addiction is treatment. It’s important to understand why the feelings of this drug are so pleasurable, what you can do to decrease the need for those feelings, and how you can generate those feelings using healthy tactics.
After treatment some people may wish to attend evening therapy sessions after work and continue to reinforce their sobriety.
Other people may choose to move into a sober housing unit. Sober housing offers rent prices below market value for people recovering from addiction, provided that they remain sober.
If you’re interested in detox, treatment, evening therapy, or sober housing call Tree House Recovery. 855-202-2138.