Deadly Mix: Fentanyl with Other Drugs
Fentanyl is an extremely deadly and addictive opioid that is about 100 times more potent than morphine, and is often mixed with other drugs to deliver a more-intense high. A person develops an addiction to fentanyl much faster than other opioids.
Heroin and fentanyl look identical and drug dealers often lace heroin with fentanyl to increase the potency so people who use it come back to buy more. Synthetic marijuana can be laced with fentanyl and other toxic substances without the person knowing. The tiniest amount of fentanyl can cause overdose or death and sometimes the person buying the substance inadvertently takes a deadly dose of the combined drugs.
Why do drug traffickers cut dangerous drugs, such as heroin or oxycodone with an even more dangerous one? Fentanyl’s low cost and high potency allow sellers to make more money (Chapman, n.d.). Medical professionals use fentanyl in a safe, controlled environment for pain management. Many people who are addicted to opioids also abuse fentanyl. Healthcare professionals can prescribe fentanyl for pain management and the directions for use must be followed directly to prevent overdose or death.
Fentanyl skin patches are prescribed at a low dosage and used for chronic pain that is not controlled by other painkillers. The patch should be disposed of by flushing down the toilet to avoid contact with other people.
First responders put their lives at risk every day to serve, protect and provide medical assistance to the community. There is a significant threat to first responders, law enforcement, and police dogs that may be exposed to fentanyl and other fentanyl‐related substances through emergency or life‐saving circumstances.
If a person overdoses on fentanyl, he or she should be treated immediately with naloxone, which is a drug that reverses the effects of opioid overdose. Multiple doses of naloxone may be needed to revive a person due to fentanyl’s high potency. People who become dependent on or addicted to fentanyl need to seek treatment immediately to prevent overdose or death.
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