An overdose crisis currently sweeping North America is worsening, thanks to fentanyl-laced heroin. Fentanyl abuse dates back roughly 25 years, but its use as a deadly filler or a replacement for far less potent narcotics is on the rise — with fatal consequences.
Fentanyl: Heroin’s New Cheap Cousin
Like heroin, fentanyl is a synthetic sedative prescribed to relieve pain. Fentanyl is significantly more potent than heroin and very fast-acting, giving you an immediate, intense high.
Most of the fentanyl widely available on streets at the moment is from China, produced in underground labs. Specifically designed to deliver a swift, whopping high, street fentanyl from China is roughly 100 times more powerful than morphine and 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin.
Owing to its wide availability, underground Chinese fentanyl most often ends up laced within other drugs, such as heroin. More than half of the overdose deaths (300+) in British Colombia in 2016 involved drugs laced with fentanyl.
Fentanyl is much too easy to manufacture, which is part of its attractiveness as an additive/filler. Unlike the production of meth, which requires pharmaceuticals that are not easily available, the manufacture of fentanyl entails a four-step process using non-prescription ingredients that are rather accessible.
Like an insidious poison seeping into everything, fentanyl wends its way into uppers like ecstasy, coke and other popular drugs. Sellers and buyers never know what drugs are or aren’t fentanyl-laced, which raises the potential danger and subsequent fatalities.
The risks are fairly straightforward. If you’re using regularly and you’re accustomed to a certain amount of heroin but end up doing the same amount of fentanyl, which is possibly 30 times more potent, you could flatline.
For inexperienced users and those who don’t use regularly, the consequences are almost always fatal. Police in cities throughout North America continue to issue warnings, but a general obliviousness persists, and toxic heroin deaths continue to rise by the hundreds annually.
Not Worth the Risk
The abundance of cheap street fentanyl has transformed heroin into an immediate death sentence. Whether injected, smoked or snorted, the consequences are the same. Lucky victims might make it to the emergency room for naloxone, but most do not.
Authorities state that fentanyl-laced heroin is more white, whereas heroin alone is typically more yellow in color. This appears to be widely known on the streets but still has not deterred users from taking a final hit.
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