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The Invisible Dangers of Fentanyl-Laced Drugs: Meth

Last Updated on May 30, 2022

Man mixing unknown chemicals into beakers.

The rate of accidental, often fatal overdoses involving fentanyl-laced street drugs has increased significantly in recent years with stimulants such as methamphetamine accounting for the large majority of new cases being reported. Each drug has long been considered extremely addictive and deadly in its own right; however, a random sampling study of meth seized by the Drug Enforcement Agency dating from 2013 to 2019 determined that there was an increase of more than 1,000% in samples that indicated a more frequent co-occurring pattern of the combined abuse of meth laced with fentanyl [1].

Increasing cases of fentanyl being used as an additive to existing street drugs can make them much more lethal, and it is now more important than ever to seek professional medical treatment at a qualified facility for any underlying addictions that could potentially lead to one’s risk of exposure to fentanyl-laced drugs.

Related post: The American Meth Crisis No One is Talking About

Understanding the Risks of Fentanyl and Meth

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid pain reliever that is medically prescribed to treat severe pain and is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. Pharmaceutical fentanyl is prescribed by doctors to treat patients suffering from severe pain, especially after surgery, for advanced-stage cancer, and as an anesthetic.

Methamphetamine is classified as a psychostimulant drug that is closely related to amphetamine. Its effects can increase a user’s energy level, generate a false and over inflated sense of well-being, and make users feel generally hyperactive and/or productive, often for days at a time [2].

The effects of meth generally last for about 8 hours, after which users experience a significant depressant “crash.” The crash is associated with feelings of negative self worth, severe mood swings, agitation, and strong cravings to use more meth in order to offset the symptoms [3].

Fentanyl and other opioid drugs in its class work by binding to opioid receptors both in the Central Nervous System (CNS) and in the brain – the same areas of the brain that also control a person’s breathing rate. Because the drug works as a depressant on the CNS, large enough doses can cause breathing to stop entirely, and this factor combined with the “crash” that often follows a meth or stimulant binge can substantially increase the risk of accidental overdose and death.

Related post: What are the Signs of Meth Use?

How Widespread is Fentanyl-Laced Meth?

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fentanyl is the leading contributor to the current drug overdose crisis in the U.S., and is involved in more than 40,000 of the 70,000 overdose deaths that were reported in 2017 alone [4]. The deadly opioid is also considered a major factor in the recent dramatic increase of fatal overdoses involving both cocaine and methamphetamine [5].

According to a recent CDC report deaths related to fentanyl increased 30% between the year-long period between March 2020 and March 2021 alone. Synthetic drugs are often deadlier not only because of how potent they are, but also because of the constantly changing ways in which they are blended into other substances. This makes it difficult for people to know not only what exactly they are taking, but also the strength of the drug. A person could think they are taking prescription pain medication such as Norco, Oxycontin, or another type of painkiller, while in reality they are consuming something much more powerful and potentially deadly [6, 7].

Reach Out if You Need Help With Any Type of Drug Addiction

Potential lethal overdoses via unintended exposure to fentanyl can be avoided by educating both yourself and others about the drug and its risks and by seeking professional treatment for any other existing addiction/s. Ending your own struggle with an ongoing addiction or supporting a loved one through their recovery process is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself or your loved ones from the dangers of fentanyl-laced drugs. If you feel that you need help with an addiction and want to learn more about inpatient drug rehab in Austin or Houston, TX, please call Nova Recovery Center at (888) 427-4932 or contact us online today.

References:

  1. Meth and Fentanyl Use Has Increased Since 2013 – Addiction Center.com
  2. What Does Using Meth Make You Feel Like? – Drug-Free World (drugfreeworld.org)
  3. Fentanyl (dea.gov)
  4. More evidence that fentanyl is killing meth and cocaine users
  5. Overdose Death Rates | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (nih.gov)
  6. Substances Laced with Fentanyl: How to Protect Loved Ones – Partnership to End Addiction (drugfree.org)
  7. Drug Overdose Deaths | CDC Injury Center

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