Do you want to get help for yourself or a loved one who is going through opioid abuse?
Rehabilitation and recovery to overcome addiction are expensive. In turn, drug addiction costs the US economy over $600 billion every year. It takes a lot from the finances of those helping their loved ones or themselves fight addiction.
Opioid abuse comes in many classes, including fentanyl and its other forms. Before you can help out a person who is fighting opioid abuse, you must educate yourself.
Below, we’ll discuss fentanyl and its chemical cousins. Read on to learn how various fentanyl analogues affect a drug addict’s system.
How Fentanyl Came to Be
In 1959, Dr. Paul Janssen created pharmaceutical fentanyl. He used it as an intravenous anesthetic to treat chronic, acute, and unresponsive pain. By the 90s, fentanyl became available as a transdermal patch.
Doctors prescribed it to patients with long-term pain. After a short while, fentanyl became available in lollipop form and sublingual tablets. This allowed patients quick relief from pain, especially from chronic issues.
These events led to fentanyl abuse and addiction. Today, fentanyl analogues are the ones often used to create new substances. These new substances aren’t only hard to detect, but they also pose more risk to users.
The Potency of Fentanyl
Although it is a synthetic opioid, fentanyl is a powerful prescription painkiller. People often use it with other medications for anesthesia. Others mix it with recreational drugs like cocaine or heroin.
Let’s compare fentanyl to other drugs to get a better understanding of its dangers. When you compare it to morphine, fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent. The DEA also claims fentanyl is 50 times more powerful than heroin.
In 2019, 70,630 deaths in the US were the result of a drug overdose. Among all synthetic opioids, fentanyl was the leading driver of overdose deaths. By 2012 and 2019, deaths from synthetic opioids like fentanyl increased 14-fold.
As you can see, fentanyl is a powerful and addictive opioid. Since it is so potent, users only need to take micrograms of fentanyl instead of milligrams. Even small doses of fentanyl can give the user the same effect as other opioids in milligrams.
Its potency isn’t the only factor that makes fentanyl dangerous. Fentanyl is unique in the way that it binds to the opioid receptors in the brain. Unlike other opioids, fentanyl takes effect much faster.
How Many Fentanyl Analogues Are There?
Scientists have found 37 different fentanyl analogues and novel synthetic opioids. They’ve all been found in hair samples of overdose deaths across the U.S. Below are some of the most lethal fentanyl analogues.
Carfentanil is dangerous because it is 100 times more potent than fentanyl. This means that it is 10,000 times more powerful than morphine. Even an amount that’s just a few grains of salt in size can cause an overdose and death.
Norfentanyl is a fentanyl metabolite. It’s one of the most difficult fentanyl analogues to detect and nearly undetectable. It’s also a synthetic narcotic analgesic that takes a quick effect but has a shorter duration of action than fentanyl.
Compared to fentanyl, this synthetic opioid is 5 to 13 times more potent. Compared to morphine, it has the potential to be 333 times stronger. It’s often used alongside anesthesia during surgery or childbirth to treat pain.
Remifentanil is another opioid often used to supplement general anesthesia during surgery. It’s twice as potent as fentanyl. Remifentanil can be up to 200 times more potent than morphine.
Butyryl Fentanyl or Butyrylfentanyl
In 2016, the DEA classified butyryl fentanyl as a “Schedule I” controlled substance. Unlike other analogues, butyryl fentanyl isn’t as easy to detect. It’s weaker than most forms of fentanyl, but butyryl fentanyl is still seven times more potent than morphine.
Furanyl Fetanyl or Furanylfentanyl
This designer drug is so potent that it is also one of the deadliest today. Furanyl fentanyl can cause a lethal overdose with only skin absorption. Studies on it and other analogues suggest that it is seven times more potent than fentanyl.
This drug has a potency that is 400 to 6000 times greater than morphine. As one of the most potent drugs in existence, it’s often sold on the black market. Many have overdosed and died to 3- Methylfentanyl.
Finally, we have alfentanil, which sits at 10% to 25% of the potency of fentanyl. Its duration lasts only 33% of fentanyl’s action. However, alfentanil has an onset of effects that is four times faster than Fentanyl.
What Are the Dangers of Fentanyl Abuse?
While fentanyl makes an excellent painkiller, it’s also a terrible drug to abuse. It has many negative side effects, including:
- A tight feeling in the throat
- Constricted pupils
- Decreased heart rate
- Dry mouth
- Rigid or stiff muscles
- Slower respirations
- Trouble concentrating
Using transdermal patches may cause redness, itchiness, rashes, and swelling. These are only the side effects of using fentanyl to keep the pain out. When you become dependent and addicted to fentanyl, it will become difficult to stop.
Your body can develop a tolerance to high doses. Once you do, you’ll keep looking for higher doses to experience the desired effect again. This opens you to the risk of a fentanyl overdose.
The signs of overdose are slow and shallow breathing, a slowed heart rate, and clammy skin. You may also feel severe sleepiness, dizziness, confusion, and faintness. You’ll have trouble walking, talking, or responding to stimuli.
If you decide to stop or can’t take the opioid, you may feel withdrawal symptoms, such as:
- Severe generalized pain
- Runny nose
- Hot and cold flashes
- Dilated pupils
These risks and side effects should be the main reasons for an opioid addict to taper off opioids.
Educate Yourself Further on Drug Abuse
We hope this guide to fentanyl analogues educated you on the risks of fentanyl overdoses. Now, you know the most dangerous forms of fentanyl. We also hope that you now know why fentanyl is one of the most addictive substances today.
Are you or a loved one struggling with drug abuse? Are you ready to take the steps you need to turn a new leaf and improve your life? Visit our contact page now to learn more about how you can fight opioid abuse or help a loved one fight opioid abuse.