Synthetic Opioids are a class of drugs distinguished by the opiate-like effects they generate. Fentanyl and Carfentanil are two frequent yet lethal variants.
What Are Synthetic Opioids?
Synthetic Opioids are a type of medication that is made in labs and is meant to have a chemical structure similar to Opioids generated naturally from the Opium poppy. Though the chemical composition of Synthetic Opioids and “natural” versions (such as many prescription Opioids) is similar, the particular chemicals that comprise Synthetic Opioids are totally man-made — often in a pharmaceutical laboratory. This is distinct from natural or non-Synthetic Opioids like Morphine and Codeine, which are taken from naturally occurring compounds in Opium pods, purified, and manufactured into medicine.
Synthetic Opioids are frequently used as cutting agents in other narcotics (particularly heroin and cocaine) or pressed into tablet form and sold on the street as counterfeit pain relievers. Due to the potency of synthetic opioids, accidental overdose is prevalent.
Fentanyl is one of the most often used Synthetic Opioids in the United States. Paul Janssen developed the strong opioid (50 to 100 times more effective than Morphine) in 1974, and it became one of the most commonly used Opioids in medicine by 2017. Both pharmaceutical firms for legal, surgical uses and illicit street producers for unlawful distribution generate large quantities of the substance. Fentanyl analogs, or minor variants with worse effects on the body, are being launched today with no past or present medicinal usage:
Carfentanil, for instance, is one of the most potent Opioids; it is 10,000 times stronger than Morphine and was developed to be an elephant tranquilizer. In Heroin, a powder version of the drug is employed as a lethal cutting agent. The growth in illegal Synthetic Opioid use has exacerbated the already-record-high number of Opioid overdose deaths in the United States.
The Opioid Epidemic And Synthetic Opioids
Between 2017 and 2018, fatal drug overdoses climbed by 10% in the United States, killing approximately 72,000 people. The development of even more lethal Synthetic Opioids has led to the vast majority of the still-growing death toll. In 2016, Fentanyl and other Synthetic Opioids surpassed prescription Opioids in terms of participation in overdose deaths. A federal telephone study found that 2.1 million Americans have Opioid Use Disorder (OUD), which is surprising given that 4 out of 5 Heroin addictions began with prescription Opioid usage.
In many regions of the country, deaths from prescription opioids began to level down or even reverse in 2011. Synthetic opioids, on the other hand, have fueled the flames. Drug trafficking groups began utilizing Synthetic Opioids to imitate other narcotics during the “Second Wave” of the Opioid pandemic. Fentanyl and similar substances are commonly offered on the street as a forgery of popular pharmaceuticals (usually Oxycodone or Hydrocodone). Addiction patients frequently assume they are getting OxyContin or Vicodin when, in fact, they are obtaining far more potent and fast-acting analogs with a higher risk of overdose.
Furthermore, powder substances, including heroin and cocaine, are being combined (or “cut”) with Fentanyl and Carfentanil, increasing the danger of lethal overdose even in those with strong opioid tolerance. The medical examiner’s office in Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, found that Fentanyl was present in 89.8 percent of Heroin cases. Local Heroin is described by Cleveland police as a “combination of brown and white powder,” akin to powder chocolate milk mix.
Synthetic Opioids’ Effect On The Body
The effects of synthetic opioids on the body are comparable to those of conventional opioids, ranging from Percocet to Black Tar Heroin. These medications are opioid receptor agonists that predominantly affect the brain and spinal cord. The FDA regulates legally prescribed opioids, which have set potencies and predictable effects on the body. Illicit Synthetic Opioids, on the other hand, are unregulated, and strength can vary from lab to lab and drug dealer to drug dealer.
Using Synthetic Opioids to get greater “highs” usually ends in an increase of symptoms and the possibility of overdose. The effects are similar whether taken orally through tablets, sublingually (under the tongue), by nasal inhalation, smoked, or injected intravenously; however, strength, the timing of onset, and mode of delivery may vary:
- Feelings of euphoria
As newer, more potent Synthetic Opioids are developed, standard detection tests capable of distinguishing between Opioids have yet to be made available to coroners, emergency medical professionals, or hospitals. Nonetheless, there is no evidence that synthetic opioids are more or less addictive than other opioids.
Synthetic Opioid Overdose
In most cases, deadly opioid overdoses are caused by a lack of oxygen, which occurs when a person stops breathing. Because synthetic opiates are so close to “real” opiates, the symptoms of dependence, addiction, and overdose are quite identical. Fentanyl, like Morphine, Heroin, or Oxycodone, is a longer-acting opiate. The major distinction between Oxycodone overdose and Fentanyl or Carfentanil overdose is that the latter is tenfold stronger than the former two and so poses a larger risk of problems. Furthermore, Fentanyl’s propensity to begin acting on the body shortly after intake might lead to overdose even faster.
Overdose symptoms are more severe versions of the drug’s existing effects – delayed respiration may cease completely, and lowered consciousness may become unconscious. Because of its strength, opioid overdoses are now more likely to be deadly. However, if the sufferer receives medical treatment fast enough, it is possible to survive an opioid overdose.
High dosages of Naloxone are necessary to reverse an overdose and allow an individual to resume regular breathing. Naloxone, an opioid receptor antagonist, can reverse the effects of all Opioids in a person’s system, reviving them and stopping them from becoming more powerful. Narcan, the most often used type of Naloxone, is available in a 4 mg nasal spray. To completely resuscitate a person, several dosages may be required.
Synthetic Opioid Statistics
50 percent: In 2016, synthetic opioids accounted for nearly half of all opioid-related fatalities (up from 14 percent in 2010).
19 thousand: In 2016, synthetic opioids were responsible for nearly 19,413 fatalities (deaths commonly involve multiple Opioids).
1,100 deaths: Carfentanil killed over 1100 people in Ohio in 2016.
Get Help For A Synthetic Opioid Addiction
Detoxing from an opioid, regardless of the kind, may be unpleasant and, in severe circumstances, fatal. Medical practitioners typically advise people to seek help from a drug rehab center since medical help enhances the probability of success as well as comfort. Following inpatient or outpatient drug treatment, people might recover and maintain sobriety through support groups or counseling.
If you are ready to start your road to recovery, get in touch with a treatment center right away.