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Unintentional Fentanyl Use: Don’t Become a Victim

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In all 50 states of the U.S., fentanyl use and overdoses are on the rise, as evidenced by the shocking statistics.  The most concerning part is that many of the people who ingest fentanyl do so unknowingly.  What fuels this dramatic increase in fentanyl use?  In many cases, it’s due to unintentional fentanyl use by people who are unaware of what they’re getting.

How Does Unintentional Fentanyl Use Happen?

Unintentional Fentanyl UseAs a synthetic opioid, the medical use of fentanyl provides pain relief for people after surgery.  It is also used to manage pain during cancer treatment.  When used under medical supervision, fentanyl is a safe, effective pain management medication.  

Fentanyl became popular on the illicit drug market because it is cheaper than other drugs and has stronger effects.  Dealers use fentanyl to lace other drugs to increase yield and profits.

Recent studies show that 83% of people who use drugs in New York City tested positive for fentanyl.  However, only 18% of those individuals say they intentionally used the drug.  Imagine how those numbers increase when statistics from all states and cities are combined.

You should also be aware that 6 out of 10 fake prescription pills contain a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl, according to the DEA.  Fentanyl is highly addictive and is the deadliest drug threat our country faces today.

Which Drugs Are Most Commonly Laced With Fentanyl?

Because fentanyl is cheaper and more potent, many heroin users intentionally switch to fentanyl.  However, unscrupulous dealers often mix fentanyl in heroin without revealing this deadly secret to buyers.  

Other street drugs can contain deadly amounts of fentanyl including:

Due to the widespread practice of lacing other drugs with fentanyl, it was involved in 66% of the fatal overdoses in the U.S. in 2021.

What Are the Dangers of Unintentional Fentanyl Use?

One of the most significant dangers of unintentional fentanyl use is rapid-onset addiction.  After addiction develops, you will need more and more of the substance to get the desired effects.  Due to fentanyl’s potency, high doses can be lethal.  Which leads to the second most significant danger of fentanyl use, overdose.  

People who use cocaine, meth, heroin, or other street drugs develop a tolerance for the drug.  But, when fentanyl is added, the combination of the two drugs can cause overdose and death.  

Signs of Fentanyl Overdose

If you use street drugs, you need to be aware of the signs of fentanyl overdose.  Even though you may not intentionally ingest fentanyl, the likelihood of its presence is high.  Remember, it only takes about 2 mg of fentanyl to cause an overdose.  

The signs of fentanyl overdose include, but are not limited to:

  • Shallow breathing
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Bluish tint to nails, lips, or skin
  • Constricted pupils
  • Choking or gurgling sounds
  • Sleepiness, unconsciousness

When you’re with someone who overdoses, don’t be afraid to call for help.  Laws are in place to protect individuals who call for help in this type of situation.  Also, administer Naloxone if available, and stay with the person until medical assistance arrives.

How to Avoid Unintentional Fentanyl Use

Most people who use fentanyl intentionally are aware of the risks.  In response to the potential risks, they utilize harm-reduction strategies.  For instance, they avoid ingesting unknown substances while alone.  They also try to use the same source each time they purchase the drug.  Additionally, many fentanyl users rely on fentanyl test strips and have Naloxone available to reverse overdose.  

But, how does someone avoid unintentional fentanyl use?  Knowing what to look for can help.  For instance, keep in mind that fake prescription pills look just like real ones.  But, looks can be deceiving.  The fake pills often contain potentially lethal doses of fentanyl.

All things considered, the best way to avoid unintentional fentanyl use is to stop using drugs altogether.  Your best option is to seek professional addiction treatment and overcome substance use before you suffer serious consequences.

Victims of Unintentional Fentanyl Use Find Help at Design for Change Recovery

At Design for Change, we understand that a person does not intentionally set out to become addicted to fentanyl.  Because of this, we make sure you’ll get the respect and compassion you deserve while in our care.  Our team of skilled addiction specialists dedicates themselves to your comfort and safety at all times. 

Our full continuum of care provides high-quality, evidence-based therapies to ensure you achieve your recovery goals.  We work with you to create a customized treatment plan that aligns with your needs and preferences.  

Contact our Lancaster, CA facility by phone, email, or online to begin your journey to recovery. One of our treatment advisors will be available to assess your needs and recommend a treatment plan that is right for you.

Sources: – Fentanyl Exposure and Preferences Among Individuals Starting Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder – Public Safety Alert – Good Samaritan Laws

Unintentional Fentanyl Use: Don't Become a Victim