Opioid abuse has been a major topic among health and law enforcement agencies in recent years. Overdosing on opioids has become such an issue that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that about 80,411 people died from overdoses in 2021.
Among these opioids is fentanyl, a prescription drug 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. While it can treat severe pain, there are also illegal lab-produced versions for recreational purposes. More terrifying is that authorities have even confirmed that fentanyl has found its way to other drugs to create an even more addictive and dangerous substance.
Why is fentanyl such a big problem, and why should you be concerned?
What makes fentanyl especially dangerous?
Like other opioids, fentanyl is addictive. Those addicted to the drug and suddenly stop using it can experience severe withdrawal symptoms just hours after the last intake.
And while all opioids are dangerous, potent ones like fentanyl are so strong that skin contact with pure fentanyl is fatal. Overdosing on fentanyl can lead to breathing problems and a lack of oxygen in the body and brain. A severe lack of oxygen can lead to a coma, permanent brain damage, or even death.
It’s also worth noting that it’s a Class B felony to possess more than 15 grams of a substance containing fentanyl.
Fentanyl in other drugs
In its fight against illegal drug use, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation discovered that narcotics like heroin are sometimes mixed with fentanyl for a bigger hit. Such combinations don’t diminish the health risks of the opioid. Combining two dangerous drugs can also carry heavier criminal charges for those caught possessing them.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation also noted one case during a traffic stop where law enforcement agents recovered what initially appeared to be oxycodone pills because of their same appearance and markings. But lab testing found that it was actually made from pure fentanyl.
Knowing that it can be mixed with other substances and is being sold on the illegal market as another drug, there’s now a real risk that whatever drug you have has some fentanyl.
Whether in its prescription form or a lab-produced illegal substance, fentanyl is a dangerous drug that can put you and your loved ones at high risk. If you were caught with pills you didn’t know was fentanyl, you could get jail time. In such cases, you might want to call for an attorney to represent you in court properly and explain your situation.