The illegal heroin business is not only about lacing heroin with Fentanyl to make it more potent; they are lacing other drugs as well for a stronger high. There has been plenty in the news about illegal Fentanyl posing as Xanax, as well being used for lacing cocaine, meth, and other opiates. Illegal Fentanyl is manufactured in China and Mexico and snuck into the United States to be sold on the streets. Scoring from the neighborhood dealer has become even more deadly because of Fentanyl.
Why is Fentanyl being added to so many illegal drugs? Because it is extremely potent and powerful. The amount of Fentanyl it takes to cause euphoria is microscopic, and when it is produced in large quantities, this drug is valuable to dealers because they can quadruple their product. The threat of overdosing on illegal drugs is now riskier than it was without Fentanyl.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid developed to treat severe chronic pain. Created in the late 1950s and prescribed as the anesthetic Sublimaze in the 1960s, it did not become popular to the drug-using culture until the 1990s when it became available in a transdermal patch and later a lollipop. Eventually, the drug culture began demanding Fentanyl and the illegal manufacturing of Fentanyl delivered. The current opioid epidemic has become so massive, largely due to Fentanyl. Heroin addicts are not just addicted to the heroin they are also addicted to Fentanyl and may not even know it.
The differences between Fentanyl and heroin is strength and amount. The amount of heroin that it would require for a drug addict to experience the same high from Fentanyl is remarkable. Depending on the type of heroin, whether it is black tar or china white, both are sold to most addicts in quarter grams, half grams, or grams. Fentanyl is sold legally as micrograms. Therefore 1 gram of heroin equals 1000 micrograms, and to get high on Fentanyl only requires three micrograms. If a person attempted to take a quarter of a gram of Fentanyl like they would with heroin they would be taking 250 micrograms of Fentanyl. They would have taken 83 times the safe or commonly prescribed dose.
There is a Solution to This Epidemic
The solution to the Fentanyl and heroin epidemic cannot wait for illegal drugs to be destroyed and made unattainable. Illegal drug markets always find a way to get their product into the U.S. and sold. The answer is professional drug treatment. A person who is an addict will become addicted to any drug, not just opiates like heroin or Fentanyl. The disease of addiction can happen at any stage in a person’s life. The story is nearly the same for an addict who is 24, 54, or even 74. Their life begins to revolve around getting drugs and staying high, despite negative consequences.
The drug addict culture that seeks heroin and fentanyl are similar to other drug addicts. They end up losing everything, acquire criminal charges, and their health begins to deteriorate. For opiate addicts, the health conditions are different from other drug addictions. Opiate addicts have more accidental overdoses, get abscesses from shooting drugs, become constipated, and develop an inability to sleep without being under the influence of an opiate. No other addiction causes these physical symptoms other than opiate drugs.
The treatment that is available for heroin and fentanyl addictions includes the use of MAT or medically assisted therapy. Because opiate addiction alters the normal chemistry of the brain, medications are necessary to help addicts withdrawal safely and with little to no discomfort.