The powerful opioid fentanyl is rapidly becoming one of the world’s deadliest drugs. In the past few years, it has overtaken cocaine and heroin as the drug most likely to lead to a fatal overdose. Now, anyone who uses heroin or opioids like fentanyl risks overdose.
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid used to treat pain. It’s far more potent than morphine, which explains why it has become so dangerous. Even small amounts of fentanyl or its breakdown product, called carfentanil, can be lethal. In 2016, more than 20,000 Americans died from an opioid overdose. Many more are living with the consequences of this dangerous drug.
What drugs can be laced with fentanyl? The illicit drug trade is constantly evolving, so it’s impossible to know every drug that is being sold and abused. However, there are certain drugs that are known to have been laced with fentanyl. If you use these drugs, you risk overdose and possibly death. Keep reading to learn more about the fentanyl-laced drugs in the U.S.
What Is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is an opioid drug. Like other opioids, it affects the central nervous system, which causes people to feel a range of pleasant sensations. However, fentanyl is much stronger than other opioids. The amount of fentanyl in a given dose can vary, but it’s usually as high as or higher than the amount in a milligram of morphine. In other words, a dose of fentanyl is enough to kill 31 people.
With that in mind, anyone who uses fentanyl runs the risk of an overdose. If you’re using fentanyl, it’s important to be aware of the signs of an overdose and take the necessary steps to avoid one.
How Is Fentanyl Added to Drugs?
The drug fentanyl is often added to heroin during the production process. In some cases, it’s also added to other opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone. However, the added drug may be detected by a drug screen, so some dealers have begun using a different method to bypass drug screens.
Dangerous drugs like fentanyl are often sold as adulterants or cutting agents. This means that the person selling the drugs does not know if the substance is present in the sample. If the seller does not know if the substance is in the batch, they are at risk of being charged with either manufacturing or selling an adulterated or cut substance.
The Risks of Taking Fentanyl-Laced Drugs
The risks of taking any type of drug are significant, but the risk of fentanyl is particularly high. In fact, fentanyl poses a greater risk than other drugs that are commonly mixed with it, such as heroin and cocaine.
Since fentanyl is so potent, even trace amounts can cause an overdose. This means that if you use heroin or cocaine that may have been laced with fentanyl, you could experience an overdose even if you don’t think you took a great deal.
Which Drugs are Being Sold with Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is often added to heroin or morphed into a new form of drug to be sold on the streets. However, it’s also being used to lace other drugs. In some cases, it’s being added to marijuana and cocaine. Other times, it’s being added to other prescription drugs, such as Percocet or Xanax.
Because so little is known about the illicit drug trade, it’s hard to know exactly which drugs are being sold with fentanyl. That said, the CDC has identified seven groups of drugs that have been associated with fentanyl overdose:
Opiates (including heroin, oxycodone, morphine, and codeine)
Stimulants (amphetamines, cocaine, and MDMA)
Sale of products containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine
How to Identify Fentanyl-Lacing Drugs
A fentanyl-laced drug is likely to have a stronger odor and taste than other drugs. This is because it is cut with something that imparts a stronger odor and taste than fentanyl alone. The other drugs used to cut fentanyl tend to have identifying characteristics, such as the following:
Marijuana – There may be a strong odor or taste of marijuana in the drug.
Cocaine – The drug may have a coating or “powder” on the surface.
Heroin – The drug may be “cut” with a white or brown powder.
Percocet – The odor and taste of the drug may be reminiscent of the aftertaste you get from drinking acetaminophen (Tylenol).
Xanax – The drug may contain a bitter or metallic aftertaste.
As the death toll from fentanyl and other opioid overdoses continues to rise, more people are asking questions and worrying about how likely it is that fentanyl is being added to their heroin or prescription drugs.
Unfortunately, there is no simple way to know for sure. The only way to be sure you’re using the right drugs and avoiding an overdose is to do your research, understand the risks, and take appropriate steps to avoid fentanyl-related instances.
Keep in mind that even if a drug sample tests positive for fentanyl, it does not mean that the full amount you consumed was laced with the drug. This is why it’s important to use a drug testing kit. These tests can help identify fentanyl even if it’s not present in the full amount you consumed.
Oasis Recovery Can Help
Opioid addiction can affect anyone. If you or a loved one are currently struggling with addiction, help is available! We encourage you to reach out to the professionals at Oasis Recovery to learn more about our personalized treatment programs and mental health services. Oasis Recovery was founded from firsthand experience of addiction and recovery, with a mission of providing a space where people can heal from addiction in a compassionate, creative, open-minded, and heart-centered environment. We believe recovery is always possible. Our experts work with you to design a treatment plan that fits your needs. Common treatment programs include:
- Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)
- Full-time Addiction Treatment on campus
- Aftercare Services
Contact us today for more information about how our programs and services can help you get your life back on track. You no longer have to struggle with opioid addiction on your own. We are here to help.