The opioid crisis in North America has reached unimaginably levels in the past few years. To put this into perspective, in 2002 opioids were responsible for less than 15,000 deaths, but by 2015, that number more than doubled to 30, 000 in the United States alone. Opioids are the most popular and effective painkillers on the market and are often prescribed to people who suffer from chronic pain or are in post-operative care. When it’s used in a controlled environment, the chances of overdosing are minimal. However, many people become addicted and eventually seek out illicit means of obtaining the drug in order to feed their cravings. Frequent use and mixing it with other illegal substances can lead to serious health problems, addiction, overdose, and even death. Carfentanil is the latest and possibly most dangerous type of opioid that’s infiltrated the illicit drug market in North America today. It’s important to learn everything you can about this drug in order to prevent you or someone you know from accidentally being exposed to it.
An Overview of Carfentanil
Carfentanil is a much more potent derivative of fentanyl. They’re both odourless white powders that can easily be integrated with other widely used street drugs such as heroin or cocaine without the user even realizing it. While fentanyl is commonly used as a sedative or painkiller for patients who endure chronic pain, carfentanil is extremely dangerous and should never be used for human consumption. It’s typically used as a strong sedative or pain reliever for large animals such as elephants which weigh approximately one tonne. It’s almost impossible to develop an addiction to carfentanil because the effects of it are so strong that people can immediately overdose or die from coming into contact with it. Like most other opioids, carfentanil can be orally ingested, intravenously injected, or inhaled through the nasal passages. Unlike most other opioids, however, it can also be absorbed by the skin. All it takes is less than the equivalent of a single grain of salt for carfentanil to be extremely destructive to the human nervous system or potentially fatal.
Carefentanil is twice as hazardous and powerful as its opioid counterpart, fentanyl, and it’s being added as a filler to a lot of street drugs in order to make it seem like dealers are providing a quantitatively more potent and higher quality product that they actually are.
Symptoms of Carfentanil Use
Symptoms of carfentanil use include respiratory problems or failure; pinpoint pupils; extremely clammy skin; extreme and sudden drowsiness; severely slow, heavy breathing and low quality of breath; confusion; and unconsciousness. All of these symptoms can occur simultaneously or one at a time at the onset of the exposure to carfentanil. It only takes less than a few minutes for an overdose to occur, so if you notice either one or a combination of the abovementioned symptoms in someone who’s just used a drug, then you need to call 911 immediately and administer naxolone if it’s available. Naxolone is an opioid antidote that can temporarily offset the symptoms and fight off the internal effects of the drug while the paramedics are on their way to help the patient.
Side Effects of Carfentanil
Carfentanil is so potent that even a normal dosage (13mg) for elephants can have an incredibly effect. Veterinarians who administer the drug to animals must wear heavy-duty protective gear from head to toe to avoid any direct contact with the drug or accidental inhalation. After administering the drug to elephants, veterinarians must also monitor the effects of the drug on the animal to ensure it doesn’t cause pulmonary edema or capillary bleeding as a result of high blood pressure. For humans, the effects of carfentanil are much more severe and rapid as our nervous systems obviously aren’t as strong as that of elephants. Even people who’ve built up a reasonable tolerance for most other opioids aren’t immune to the rapidly dangerous effects of carfentanil. This usually includes either undergoing immediate overdose or death; there’s usually no in-between period and there’s no time to develop an addiction to the substance.
Due to the fact that most people aren’t aware that they’ve come into contact with or been exposed to this extremely harmful drug, carfentanil treatment can be extremely difficult to implement. Like fentanyl, carfentanil works by attaching itself to the opioid receptors in the brain and forces them to go into overdrive, which produces an overwhelming amount of dopamine and makes the person feel intense euphoria. The main difference between the two is that fentanyl works slowly and induces temporary relaxation so that the user feels instant pain relief and is more at ease.
We Can Help with Opioid Addiction Recovery
While the rapid and potent effects of carfentanil ingestion or exposure doesn’t necessarily allow enough time for a person to develop an addiction to the drug, it’s considered one notch above fentanyl. In fact, most people who come into contact with carfentanil have already developed an opioid addiction or dependency in some capacity and are looking for a much stronger high. The more you use a certain drug, the more you need to increase the dosage in order to achieve the same level of euphoria as your body builds up a tolerance to its effects with continued use over time.
For this reason, it’s important to seek professional treatment for drug abuse or addiction as soon as possible. Freedom From Addiction is ready to help. We’re one of the only privately-owned drug and alcohol treatment facilities in all of Canada to have officially acquired recognition from Accreditation Canada for the amazing work that we do. As the national opioid crisis in Canada continues to gain momentum, we believe that it’s our moral duty to provide advanced and in-depth carfentanil treatment to anyone who needs it and educate people about the immense dangers of this deadly drug. To learn more about our personalized inpatient addiction treatment programs, please contact us.