Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but far more potent. It is a prescription drug that is also made and used illegally. Like morphine, fentanyl can treat patients with severe pain, especially after surgery. It can also treat pain in those who are physically tolerant to opioids.
Illegally used fentanyl is most often associated with overdose. Experts say that fentanyl is the single deadliest drug threat our nation has ever encountered. And sadly, it’s everywhere. From large metropolitan areas to rural communities, fentanyl is claiming the lives of people every day, and many of them are young people.
Sadly, even kids aren’t safe from fentanyl. The DEA warns of brightly-colored fentanyl that’s being used to target young Americans. ‘Rainbow fentanyl’ is illicitly manufactured fentanyl associated with a growing number of drug overdoses and deaths. It’s often sold on the streets as a more potent form of fentanyl, and since it looks like candy, it looks appealing to kids and young adults.
Let’s learn more about the dangers of rainbow fentanyl and what you need to know to protect yourself and your loved ones.
High Risk of Overdose
Rainbow fentanyl is one of the most potent forms of fentanyl available. Even a small amount can cause an overdose, and the risk is even higher when mixed with other substances like cocaine or heroin.
There have been rumors that certain colors of rainbow fentanyl are more dangerous than others, but there is no indication that this is the case, based on DEA research. Every color, shape and size is extremely dangerous. Just two milligrams of fentanyl is a lethal dose.
Like other opioids, rainbow fentanyl can cause respiratory depression, which means it can slow or stop your breathing. This can lead to hypoxia, a condition where the body doesn’t get enough oxygen, and it can cause irreversible damage to the brain and other organs.
Most overdose deaths happen when there is no one there to get help. To prevent overdose deaths, people who use opiates or know someone who does can get the drug Naloxone (Narcan). Naloxone can stop an overdose and save a life.
Addiction and Dependency
Since fentanyl is so powerful, it’s also incredibly addictive. Even those who are prescribed fentanyl by a doctor can become dependent on the drug. A person can be dependent on a substance without becoming addicted, but dependence can also lead to addiction.
For those who have an addiction to fentanyl, withdrawal symptoms can start as early as a few hours from the last dose. These symptoms include:
- Muscle and bone pain
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Sleep problems
- Cold flashes
- Restless legs
- Severe cravings
Rainbow fentanyl is often mixed with other substances to make it stronger. Unfortunately, this can increase the risk for overdose and cause other health problems. Some common drugs that may be laced with fentanyl are cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.
Additionally, because fentanyl is an illicit drug, the exact ingredients and strength of each dose are unknown, making it even more dangerous. Remember, you can’t see or smell fentanyl, so it’s impossible to detect how strong a pill is on your own.
Like other opioids, rainbow fentanyl can cause withdrawal symptoms, which can be severe and uncomfortable. These symptoms include anxiety, sweating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and muscle aches. In fact, the withdrawal symptoms can be so severe, they can cause death. At the very least, the withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable, and quitting cold turkey can lead to relapse.
Recover from Opioid Addiction
If you or someone you know is struggling with a fentanyl addiction, Arizona drug rehab can help. Wolf Creek Recovery frequently treats addictions to opioids, including rainbow fentanyl. We understand that addiction is a complex disease that requires professional treatment. Many of our staff members are in recovery, so they can offer the support and understanding you need.
To learn more about our approach to treating opioid addiction, contact our admissions team today. We are always available and ready to help you start your journey.