Even if you’re not a recreational drug user, you may know about fentanyl. It has entered the public consciousness recently. You might have heard about how it’s showing up everywhere and how much damage it can do to communities.
You will quickly understand the importance of fentanyl treatment if you walk down the streets of a community that has been ravaged by this drug. We’ll talk about the long-term health risks of fentanyl abuse right now.
What is Fentanyl?
First, let’s make sure you know about this drug and why it’s such a problem. Fentanyl is a powerful, easy-to-obtain synthetic opioid. Those who use it say that it feels very much like being on morphine.
The problem is that it can easily be anywhere from 50-100 times more potent than morphine. Since morphine is already powerful, it’s easy to see how deadly fentanyl can be to someone who is abusing drugs or addicted to them.
Where Does Fentanyl Come From?
The short answer to where fentanyl comes from is China. There are several chemicals made there that are crucial if you are creating fentanyl.
Part of the problem is that huge amounts of these chemicals are being shipped from China to other parts of the world. The laws there are somewhat lax, and a lack of careful regulation is contributing to chemicals needed to make fentanyl leaving China by boat or plane and mostly ending up in Mexico.
In Mexico, the fentanyl is made into pill form, and it is then brought into the US, mainly from our Southern border. You can then buy it as a pill on the street. Some people crush it up and snort it, while others simply swallow it.
What Are the Health Risks?
In the short term, fentanyl can cause labored breathing, shortness of breath, dilated pupils, vomiting, and constipation. If you use it in the long term, though, the risks are much greater.
In women, it can cause menstrual problems. It can cause reduced libido and mood instability. Many family members of those who become addicted to fentanyl report that they become more irritable and irrational the longer they use it.
It’s also highly addictive, so the problems that go along with any addictive drug usually surface with individuals who make it a part of their daily lives. They will start going out of their way to obtain the pills, stealing money to buy them when they can’t get ready cash any other way. They often start engaging in reckless criminal behavior so they can get their hands on more money and therefore obtain larger supplies of the pills.
The risk of overdose with fentanyl is very high. You can overdose from swallowing the pills, but overdose risk becomes even higher if you crush them up and snort them or if you inject them in the same way you would with heroin.
The overdose risk with fentanyl is so high that this is what usually kills users, not any of the long-term effects.