What Is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid drug that has been used recreationally as well as for legitimate medical reasons by prescription with medications such as Sublimaze®, Actiq®, and Duragesic®. As one of the most powerful street drugs, fentanyl is up to 100 times stronger than morphine. The CDC reports that fentanyl is hundreds of times more powerful than heroin. Its strength means that someone without an opiate tolerance who takes even a little bit of fentanyl can experience deadly consequences.
Fentanyl is also known by a number of street names. These include:
•. China White
• Great Bear
• China Girl
• China Town
• Tango and Cash
• Dance Fever
Physical Effects of Fentanyl
When fentanyl is ingested alone, it causes symptoms that are similar to those of other opioid drugs. The effects include:
• Nausea and vomiting
• Slowed breathing
• Extreme relaxation
What Makes Fentanyl So Dangerous?
Fentanyl is a synthetic, fast working, crystalline opioid drug. It has been used in prescription form for pain relief without the drowsiness and loss of consciousness that is seen with other synthetic opioids. In some situations, though, it is used to induce unconsciousness. Fentanyl easily enters the body through the respiratory and digestive systems, including through contact with the eyes and skin. Because of this, people can easily ingest fentanyl without even knowing it.
The effects of fentanyl can start within a few minutes. It is either rapid or gradual, depending on how the drug is ingested. Within eight hours, fentanyl reduces breathing to dangerously slowed levels. With some forms of ingestion, the muscles of the chest cavity become rigid, which further reduces breathing capacity. The drug also causes other muscles of the body to become rigid and spasm, and this may disrupt critical system functions. Blood pressure inside the brain increases, which can lead to hemorrhaging, blood clots, and strokes.
Because of the decrease in respiratory function, blood oxygen levels drop excessively. This contributes to the change in the color of the skin and nailbeds. Heart rate and blood pressure slow, as well, which robs the body of oxygen needed for vital organs. Muscle rigidity in the stomach and digestive tract prevents normal absorption of nutrients. Intestinal blockages have occurred in cases of fentanyl ingestion. Other medical emergencies that occur with ingestion of fentanyl include comas and pulmonary edemas. Fentanyl can be fatal when ingested.
Fentanyl and Cocaine
The Drug Enforcement Agency is seeing a rise in the combination of fentanyl and cocaine. Because fentanyl has a similar appearance, many people don’t realize that the cocaine they purchase has been mixed with another drug. It takes only 2 milligrams of fentanyl to cause serious physical effects. This is the equivalent of five salt grains. People who use cocaine that is laced with fentanyl may experience problems breathing and dizziness and may die.
Overdose and Death Rates for Fentanyl and Cocain
Cases of cocaine that have been contaminated or mixed with fentanyl are being reported around the world. In 2017, the DEA released a report that indicated a widespread problem with cocaine being contaminated with fentanyl. Five years later, the DEA reported that three fatal overdose cases in a two-week period were linked to cocaine that was contaminated with fentanyl. Nine additional people had non-fatal overdoses during the same period.
Why Is Cocaine Laced With Fentanyl So Deadly?
Cocaine that is laced with fentanyl is concerning for two reasons. First, people don’t always know that the cocaine that they purchase contains any other drugs. As a result, they use the same amount, not knowing that it contains fentanyl. Second, fentanyl is a highly potent drug. Only a few small grains of the drug are enough to cause an overdose and death. According to the CDC, substances such as fentanyl are linked to 150 overdose deaths every day. In many cases, the people who produce cocaine for street distribution add fentanyl to increase the final volume of the product. Fentanyl is much more affordable than cocaine, so the dealers and suppliers make a higher profit. People who buy cocaine don’t know that it contains fentanyl because the drug has no distinctive color, smell, or appearance. It looks the same as cocaine.
Physical Effects of Fentanyl in Cocaine
Most people don’t realize that they have purchased cocaine that is mixed with fentanyl until they ingest the drug. If you suspect that someone has ingested fentanyl, it is a medical emergency, and you should contact 911 immediately. Signs of fentanyl ingestion that are different than cocaine use include:
• Dozing off
• Loss of consciousness
• Being unresponsive
• Breathing that is very slow, weak, or has possibly stopped
• Going limp
• Having discolored lips and nails
• Exhibiting very small pupils
• Making gurgling or choking sounds
Abuse and Overdose From Cocaine Combined With Fentanyl
Cocaine is an addictive stimulant that carries significant risks with continued use and addiction. Ingesting cocaine that is laced with even a small amount of fentanyl makes cocaine use even more dangerous. Because of the rampant trend of fentanyl being added to cocaine for street distribution, it is more likely than not that you will purchase cocaine that has been contaminated with this dangerous synthetic opioid. Even just a very minuscule amount of fentanyl in your cocaine can cause overdose and death. Now may be a good time to seek treatment for your cocaine use to prevent the consequences of unknowingly ingesting fentanyl. Liberty Bay Recovery Center is here to help you overcome the effects of cocaine use.
Guide to Withdrawal During Detox
Your treatment at Liberty Bay Recovery Center begins with a medically supervised detox process. This allows your body to naturally eliminate any substances. Detox can be challenging, and this is why we provide a full staff of clinicians and counselors to our clients during the entire process.
Physicians and nurses monitor your physical symptoms, and they may give you medications to ease any discomfort. They also ensure that your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure stay within normal limits. Counselors stand by to help you with the emotional aspects of withdrawal, such as any feelings of hopelessness, depression, anger, frustration, and regret. These are all normal responses during detox, and the counselor provides the guidance and support that you need during this time.
Withdrawal symptoms for cocaine and fentanyl are slightly different. The symptoms that you experience during detox depend on the nature of your use.
What to Expect From Cocaine Detox
Detoxing from cocaine may cause a range of symptoms, such as:
• Difficulty staying active
• Heighten appetite
• Feeling tired
• Low energy
• Bad dreams
Detox From Fentanyl
Fentanyl use produces the same symptoms of withdrawal as other opioids. The most common signs of fentanyl withdrawal are:
• Difficulty sleeping
• Excessive perspiration
• Feeling tired
• Irritability, anxiety, and other emotions
• Tearing eyes and runny nose
• Cramps in the abdominal area
• Nausea and vomiting
• Goosebumps on the skin
Help for Your Substance Use Disorder and Addiction
Cocaine use and addiction are challenging to overcome but not impossible. Getting the treatment that you need not only helps you live a healthier life, but it may also save your life. The trend of street cocaine being laced with fentanyl is growing to the point of a pandemic, and it may only be a matter of time before you unknowingly purchase this dangerous combination. As you face your cocaine use and addiction, you are not alone. The team at Liberty Bay Recovery Center is here to help with your journey.
Treatment for Cocaine Use and Addiction
Liberty Bay Recovery Center follows a model of treatment for substance use disorders that helps you better understand your choices. Oftentimes, people are living with trauma, mental health issues, and other challenges that limit their belief systems and coping skills. Our dual diagnosis approach identifies any of these underlying issues that contribute to your cocaine use. We then work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan that helps you live the healthy life that you desire. You then enter into our counseling services to begin work.
Individual counseling provides you with a safe space to openly discuss the issues that led to your drug use. It may be something traumatic from your past or the stress of everyday life. The counselors at Liberty Bay Recovery Center listen to you and interact in a non-judgmental way. They also teach you skills that can help you better manage the challenges and difficulties of life.
Our group counseling services are opportunities to interact with other clients who have lived through the same challenges as you. This can be empowering because you no longer feel alone. You also discover that you have a great deal to share with others that may help them on their journeys. Group counseling is typically recommended after you have been in individual counseling for a while. This gives you time to process your own thoughts and feelings before engaging with others.
After you complete your inpatient program, it is normal to feel anxious and overwhelmed. The team at Liberty Bay Recovery Center remains an active part of your journey with our outpatient services. This allows you to continue working with your counselor as you find work, return to school, take care of your family, and start to make new friends.
About Liberty Bay Recovery Center
At Liberty Bay Recovery Center, we provide our clients with access to the resources they need to overcome substance use disorders and addiction.
Professional, Compassionate Staff
Deciding to pursue treatment for your addiction is a big step, and you may feel anxious about being judged for your choices. At Liberty Bay Recovery Center, you will find an entire team of professionals who approach addiction treatment in a non-judgmental, compassionate way. We understand that addiction to drugs is never a choice. It is often the result of challenges that you face on your own without the necessary skill to manage. Additionally, our center is staffed with many people who are, themselves, recovering addicts, so they can relate to your experiences.
Services for Your Body and Mind
As you start to heal the emotional effects of a substance use disorder and addiction, you also need to repair your body. Liberty Bay Recovery Center has a kitchen available to all clients where they can learn about proper nutrition and prepare their own meals. When combined with a healthy, active lifestyle, nutrition becomes a central part of your recovery.
Advanced Counseling Services
Substance use disorder and addiction treatment have evolved over the years. We now understand that many of our clients suffer from mental health issues that contribute to their choices. Our counseling services are based on a dual diagnosis model. This means that we start by identifying any underlying issues that you may have, such as anxiety, PTSD, and depression. Your counseling treatment plan identifies strategies to help you manage your mental and emotional well-being. In most cases, once these underlying issues are addressed, our clients are more prepared to overcome addiction and maintain a life of sobriety.
If you would like to live a life free from drugs, contact us today. There is hope, and we can help.