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Did You Know... The True Dangers of Fentanyl and Its Potency?

Did You Know... The True Dangers of Fentanyl and Its Potency

In recent years, a shadow has crept silently across the landscape of public health and safety, one that, despite its size, has had a colossal impact on communities worldwide. This shadow is fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is reshaping the boundaries of substance abuse and its consequent dangers. Given its potency and the ease with which it can be disseminated, understanding the dangers of fentanyl has become imperative for parents, educators, healthcare professionals, homeowners, and property managers alike.

Fentanyl: What It Is and Its Origins

Fentanyl was initially synthesized in 1960 as a pain management treatment for cancer patients, applied via a patch on the skin. Because of its powerful pain-relieving qualities, it seemed like a breakthrough. However, its potency is also what makes it exceptionally dangerous.

fentanyl blue pills

Fentanyl is estimated to be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, and just 2 milligrams, equivalent to a few grains of table salt, is considered a lethal dose for most people.  It works by binding to the body's opioid receptors, causing a surge of dopamine in the brain and creating an intense sense of pleasure and relaxation. This euphoric effect is what makes it highly addictive.

The Dangers of Fentanyl: A Growing Concern

The potency of fentanyl and its mixing with other substances make it extremely dangerous. Often, fentanyl ends up mixed into other drugs unknowingly by individuals, attributed to its high strength and low cost.

The statistics surrounding fentanyl are startling. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, are the primary driver of drug overdose deaths in the United States, with over 56,000 recorded in 2020 alone. 

How Fentanyl is Acquired and Used

Fentanyl's acquisition and use are alarmingly simple, and this is the main reason for its widespread impact. Doctors can prescribe it, manufacturers can produce it illicitly, consumers can buy it from the black market, and individuals can make it at home with ingredients that are readily available.

Some individuals may intentionally seek out fentanyl for its intense high, but others may unknowingly consume it as it is increasingly mixed into other drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and counterfeit pills. There are also many forms, including powder, blotter paper, tablets, and spikes in heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine, making its consumption largely indiscriminate and perilously unpredictable.

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Detecting and Protecting Against Fentanyl Exposure at Home and in the Community

Protection against fentanyl begins with education and awareness. For families and community members, knowing the signs of opioid overdose and having naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal drug, available can save lives. Property managers and homeowners should also stay informed on the dangers of fentanyl and other drug manufacturing and distribution in their communities, regularly inspecting and securing vacant units.

This video from the Cleveland Clinic may help you better understand the Warning Signs of a Opioid Overdose:

What To Do in Case of a Fentanyl Overdose

If you suspect someone has overdosed on fentanyl, immediately call 911 and administer naloxone if available. While waiting for emergency responders to arrive, keep the individual awake and breathing by administering Narcan nasal spray or giving rescue breaths.

More details are covered in our fentanyl-related post: Did You Know... Naloxone Can Reverse the Effects of a Fentanyl Overdose? | Bio-One of Modesto

Be sure to check it out, as we cover more details on recognizing the signs of fentanyl overdose and how to effectively use naloxone.

How Bio-One of Modesto Can Help

Bio-One of Modesto specializes in decontamination and cleanup services, offering critical assistance in environments contaminated with hazardous substances like fentanyl.  If you or someone you know needs assistance with cleaning up fentanyl in Modesto or any city in or near Stanislaus County, contact Bio-One for a free, on-site estimate.

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At Bio-One of Modesto, we dedicate ourselves to being more than just a cleanup company; we actively help families through some of life’s most challenging moments. With compassion at the heart of everything we do, our team of experts provides specialized cleaning services prioritizing safety, privacy, and respect above all else.

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Our mission is to restore peace and cleanliness to any space affected by unexpected events. Serving Modesto, Stanislaus County, and all surrounding areas, we're here to ensure that no one has to face tough times alone.