What most recreational drug users do not expect after popping the little green pill are the adverse effects, which is often slowed heartbeat, difficulty in breathing, and extreme drowsiness. Users may think that they are using OxyContin when the concoction really contains Fentanyl. In this case, the drug is more potent than morphine and even hundred times more powerful than heroin. As such, symptoms kick in and may even lead to a drug overdose.
As mentioned, Fentanyl is extremely potent and most recreational drug users do not even know that they are already taking the drug and putting themselves at risk of drug overdose. Health officials claim that it is difficult to prevent.
- In the medical setting, Fentanyl is a strong opioid prescribed to patients for the management of their chronic pain.
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated Fentanyl to be 100x stronger than heroin and 80x stronger than morphine.
- Fentanyl has also found its way on streets, often times being sold as a fake OxyContin pill laced with drugs like cocaine.
A senior scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Benedict Fisher noted that there are a large number of opioid-related deaths in Canada for many years. Among them, Fentanyl-related overdose deaths have been rising especially in certain provinces.
Just last year, the Coroners Service of British Columbia has reported 300 people illegally overdosing on Fentanyl. The statistics would account for a 25 percent of the deaths involving Fentanyl. 3 years earlier, the coroner’s office detected only 5 percent of Fentanyl-related deaths.
In addition, the Alberta Health also recorded 120 people who have died last year after having ingested Fentanyl. In 2011, only 6 were recorded in the same area. The office of Ontario’s chief coroner has recorded 210 Fentanyl overdose deaths in Ontario between 2005 and 2009.
Apparently, most of the people who died on Fentanyl were not hard-core drug addicts.
The assumption that most of such deaths are the stereotypical, life-long opioid addicts on a street level is false. As it turns out, the majority of these people are often the regular, mid-class folks.
Investigators, during the previous summer, traced several suspicious deaths back to overdoses on Fentanyl. One such case is 17-year-old Jack Bodie from Vancouver who died after ingesting a fake Oxy pill laced with Fentanyl. Two weeks before Bodie’s death, a couple in North Vancouver were found dead after taking toxic levels of Fentanyl. In both cases, family and friends described their drug use as recreational.
Often, doctors only prescribe Fentanyl to patients who have already taken a different type of opioid in the past. Patients needed a certain level of tolerance of the drug to handle the high potency of its dosage. Apparently, most people fail to realize that they are already taking Fentanyl. Drug dealers also combine Fentanyl with other drugs in an attempt to pass it off as other drugs. In most cases, it is as OxyContin pills.