Greenland, NH based Addiction Recovery Services (ARS) has shared new insights on fentanyl and how it can be identified. This, the organization states, is vital for people who are living with addiction (as well as their loved ones) as it can help them determine when they may be at risk of consuming this deadly substance. ARS has compiled this knowledge into an article, and they encourage all interested parties to check it out if they or a loved one is dealing with substance abuse or addiction.
The article explains that fentanyl is only available in two types: pharmaceutical fentanyl and illicitly manufactured fentanyl. However, they are both considered to be synthetic opioids. The article says, “The kind of fentanyl that is prescribed by doctors to treat patients with excruciating pain, like those who have been in a car accident or after an advanced surgery, is pharmaceutical fentanyl. They even prescribe it to patients who have terminal cancer to help the pain. Illicitly manufactured fentanyl is used on the streets because it has a more powerful effect than heroin and can be added to other drugs, making them cheaper and stronger.”
One of the biggest issues with identifying fentanyl is the fact that it can take many shapes. Given that it is also available as a prescription drug, it can be found in the form of a pill, patch or even an injection. However, these medications always come clearly labeled and are (by design) extremely difficult to take unknowingly. Street-manufactured fentanyl is much harder to identify.
According to Addiction Recovery Services, the most common form of illegally-manufactured fentanyl is a white powder, and some may find that it bears a resemblance to cocaine. Unfortunately, this powder can then be transformed further, such as by being pressed into a pill shape which can be sold as a knockoff version of opioid drugs like Vicodin or OxyContin. ARS says the powder can also be dissolved in a liquid medium, at which point it can be mixed into many other delivery vehicles. This form of fentanyl has been found in nasal sprays, eye drops, and even candy.
ARS acknowledges in the article that fentanyl is used legally as a pain relief medication, such as when patients are terminally ill and can only manage their symptoms. However, its potency and the ease with which it can be disguised among other substances make it especially dangerous because it is often sold as fake cocaine or heroin (or mixed into ‘cut’ these substances). Cocaine or heroin user is always taking a risk when they consume these substances — but they are unknowingly increasing that risk by an order of magnitude if fentanyl is present. As such, they are much more likely to overdose or even die. It is on average about 80 times more powerful than morphine.
In addition to listing how a person’s behavior may change when they use fentanyl, the article says, “The signs of a fentanyl overdose can be spotted by slower breathing, unresponsiveness, a decrease in consciousness, and constricted pupils. It is important to call 911 as soon as possible if you believe someone is overdosing on fentanyl. A drug known as Narcan can be administered by emergency responders upon arrival and can aid in stopping fentanyl overdose. In the state of New Hampshire, Narcan is available to be obtained by adults at several pharmacies at no cost and without a prescription necessary.” ARS strongly recommends that people take the time to obtain Narcan and keep it within easy reach if they or a loved one use opioids, including fentanyl.
The article goes on to explain what fentanyl is called on the street, what withdrawal symptoms look like, and how anyone can seek help if they or someone close to them is in trouble. The last of these may be the most important for anyone to know, and ARS advises their community to look up their closest addiction recovery resources. Should they need any further assistance, they are also welcome to contact the team at Addiction Recovery Services.
SOURCE: Press Advantage [Link]
The Mission of Addiction Recovery Services is to provide accessible and effective group therapy, family education and medication management for addiction and mental health symptoms provided by compassionate licensed professionals.
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