One of the most potent opioids known to the world is carfentanil. If a human being ingests carfentanil, the person may overdose very quickly, and multiple doses of Narcan may not be enough to save them. This drug is 10,000 times more powerful than morphine, and it is placing first responders in significant jeopardy. If law enforcement officers touch this substance, it can cause serious health effects.
You may wonder why anyone would want to take carfentanil if it is so dangerous. Why would anyone need such a powerful drug?
The answer is that carfentanil was never meant to be ingested by humans. Veterinarians need a tranquilizer as powerful as carfentanil because they use it to sedate elephants and other large animals.
Even though carfentanil is not safe for human consumption, drug dealers mix it into other drugs anyway. Because carfentanil and fentanyl are both white, powdery substances, drug dealers can place them in cocaine and heroin without the knowledge of their customers. When a person takes heroin or cocaine that has been laced with carfentanil, that person might experience devastating consequences without even knowing that carfentanil was in their dose.
Developing a Carfentanil Addiction
It isn’t easy to procure carfentanil. You can’t get a doctor’s prescription for it because it hasn’t been approved for humans, and you can’t walk into a pharmacy and buy it over the counter because it cannot be sold that way. People are becoming addicted to carfentanil anyway, and they don’t necessarily know that this is happening.
Drug dealers purchase fentanyl and carfentanil from laboratories. Large amounts of fentanyl and fentanyl analogs circulate in the United States illegally. Then, people purchase cocaine or heroin, and they receive it laced with carfentanil, possibly without their knowledge; the addiction to carfentanil that develops isn’t even intentional.
“Grey death” is a substance that contains several opioids, and it usually contains whatever a drug dealer wants to put into the mix. This means that the substance is more potent than heroin, and dealers often add these substances to heroin and cocaine. If your loved one’s drug of choice is heroin or cocaine, it’s possible that your loved one is also consuming carfentanil along with several other opioids. If people are not overdosing on this substance, they are becoming dependent on it.
Each time people purchase cocaine or heroin, they cannot tell that carfentanil has been added because carfentanil is a white, powdery substance just like heroin and cocaine. They can believe that they are taking just cocaine or heroin, but carfentanil may be in the mix, leading them to accidentally overdose.
This is very dangerous for everyone because carfentanil can cause the following side effects:
- Clammy skin
- Pinpoint pupils
- Respiratory depression
- Respiratory arrest
Consuming the tiniest amount of carfentanil can have fatal effects, but there is a way to save your loved one from a drug overdose.
What Is Naloxone?
Naloxone is a medication that must be administered when someone is experiencing an opioid overdose. It is known as an “opioid antagonist,” so it binds to the opioid receptors in the brain and blocks other opioids from doing so. In this manner, it reverses opioid overdoses and helps the person breathe normally again. This can work even if the person’s breathing has stopped entirely.
Recognizing Carfentanil Use
Since carfentanil is an opioid, medical professionals believe that the signs of carfentanil use are similar to the side effects that other opioids cause. These may include the following:
- Mental fog
- The inability to concentrate
- Aches in the muscles
- Excess sweating
- Runny nose
Sometimes, people ingest carfentanil but do not suffer any serious consequences. As this continues and they also consume heroin or cocaine laced with carfentanil, they can develop a dependency on the drug. When this occurs, the body never wants to be without the substance.
Signs That Your Loved One Is Using Carfentanil
Overdoses due to carfentanil are on the rise in the United States. From July to December of 2016, 400 people died from carfentanil-related causes in Ohio, and Florida reported approximately 500 deaths of this kind during the same time period. Fortunately, there are recognizable signs that someone is using carfentanil.
Your loved one may be doing an internet search for carfentanil on the web. Another clue is if your loved one uses the street names for carfentanil. These are TNT, Tango and Cash, Serial killer, Drop dead, China girl, China white, and Apache. Your loved one could be misusing carfentanil and risking an overdose while becoming addicted or dependent on opioids.
Death is the worst thing that could happen to your loved one when carfentanil is being mixed with other substances. It’s also possible that your loved one could experience the following signs of an overdose:
- The person’s breathing slows down significantly or even stops.
- You cannot wake the person up.
- The person is unable to talk.
- The person begins to vomit, or you can hear gurgling sounds.
- The person’s fingernails are blue or purple.
- The person’s body is limp.
- The person’s face is clammy and pale.
If your loved one begins to experience the symptoms listed above, they need to be taken to the hospital immediately. An overdose is very likely to happen because it only requires 2 mg of carfentanil to cause an overdose.
The fact that such a small amount of the drug will cause such devastating consequences means that the best thing for your loved one is to stay far away from this substance. This means that people shouldn’t indulge in a habit of taking cocaine or heroin because these drugs could possibly have carfentanil. There’s no way for someone to be sure that carfentanil isn’t in the heroin or cocaine they purchase, and they cannot trust drug dealers to tell them whether their purchase is laced with other opioids or not.
If your loved one is taking cocaine or heroin, that person could also be ingesting carfentanil, and this can lead to an overdose. The best way to avoid a carfentanil overdose is to overcome your dependence on heroin or cocaine. At Granite Recovery Centers, we can give you more information about carfentanil and resources to overcome substance use.
The History of Carfentanil
In the past couple of years, more people have been asking our staff about carfentanil. This is to be expected since the drug has been in the news more often, and it is being described as the most dangerous drug known to human beings.
In 1974, scientists first synthesized carfentanil. The federal government of the United States classified carfentanil under Schedule II of the Schedule of Controlled Substances. This means that carfentanil is a substance with a high potential for abuse. The substances in this category are also expected to lead to a strong psychological or physical dependence. The government considers these drugs to be dangerous due to their side effects and potential for abuse.
Statistics on Carfentanil Overdoses
Canada is also having a problem with carfentanil abuse. In 2016, only 25 people died due to a carfentanil overdose, but in 2017, this number increased to 125. In Ohio, there were as many as 30 carfentanil-related overdose deaths in 2016. These overdoses peaked at 86 during that year, and after that first peak, they went on to peak again in April of 2018 with 218 deaths.
It is difficult for the authorities to keep track of the number of carfentanil overdose deaths because of carfentanil’s resemblance to heroin and cocaine. For this reason, it’s difficult to say for sure how many people carfentanil has actually killed to this day. The smallest amount can lead to someone’s death, and since you cannot tell carfentanil apart from cocaine or heroin, you can never be safe when ingesting these drugs. The best and only way that you can avoid overdose and death is to conquer your addiction to heroin or cocaine.
The Importance of Seeking Treatment
Overcoming your addiction is not just a good thing to do because of the increased danger of carfentanil. Conquering your addiction would also benefit your entire life in many ways. When people are battling an addiction, they often feel isolated and alone, and they begin to experience the consequences of their actions. Their friends and family members may not understand what is going on with them. Seeking drug addiction treatment allows people to feel supported by professionals in the medical field as well as peers who are also undertaking the recovery process.
Your loved one may have felt the desire to give up taking drugs, but they think it’s impossible. They may feel as if they are stuck in the cycle of addiction, but this is not true. You can be the one to help your loved one see that there is hope and help for their drug addiction. Even so, it can still be difficult to convince someone that drug treatment is the right thing to do.
The Resistance to Drug Treatment
If you are concerned about a loved one’s use of heroin, cocaine, or another opioid, you can help this person overcome their addiction by encouraging them to seek professional treatment. Sometimes, people resist drug treatment, but it is very important that you do everything in your power to convince your loved one to get help. Your loved one may have tried to stop taking heroin or cocaine and failed because of the unbearable symptoms of withdrawal.
All hope is not lost at this point. You can stage an intervention that puts the person experiencing the drug issue at the center of the stage. Each person participating in the intervention has the opportunity to tell the affected person how their behavior is affecting them negatively. Then, you can introduce the idea of detox and rehabilitation under professional supervision. At the end of the intervention, your loved one may agree to enter into a rehab center and obtain treatment for drug dependence or addiction.
Granite Recovery Centers
At Granite Recovery Centers, your loved one can enter a drug detox program to begin the recovery process. Our medical professionals will ensure that your loved one is comfortable during detox. Our medication-assisted treatment program can provide your loved one with medication that will relieve the withdrawal symptoms and help them move on to the rehabilitation process. Granite Recovery Centers provides medical detoxification for people who do not need immediate medical intervention, are not a danger to themselves, and are capable of self-evacuation in the event of an emergency.
If you or a loved one wants to get on with life without drugs, contact us at Granite Recovery Centers. We know the devastation that carfentanil use and addiction can cause, so we’ll provide personal attention and evidence-tested resources to help your loved one achieve long-term sobriety again.