Some drugs, such as LSD, are in decline across America. Yet it seems that for every drug that declines, a new one pops up. Carfentanil or Carfentanyl is one such drug sweeping across the nation, drug users are NOT looking for it, and trying to avoid it. If you haven’t heard of this drug, you aren’t alone. Carfentanil didn’t get much attention until about 2002. However, it is quickly becoming the deadliest drug additive in the United States.
What Is Carfentanil?
Carfentanil is an analog of fentanyl, which is a potent opioid pain medication. Fentanyl is about 80 times more potent than morphine; Carfentanil is about 10,000 times stronger than morphine. In the United States, Carfentanil is classified as a Schedule II narcotic, meaning it has high potential for abuse and dependency.
Currently, Carfentanil is marketed as Wildnil, and it’s used as a general anesthetic for large animals, such as rhinos and elephants. Though it does have its medical uses in large animals, medical professionals and scientists can mostly agree that the chemical is simply too potent for medical uses in humans, and its use in humans is rare.
Is Carfentanil Prevalent?
Unfortunately, Carfentanil is becoming more prevalent, with drug cartels receiving imports of the raw drug from other countries, and adding it to opioid mixtures including heroin. Its most often used to “cut” heroin, adding potency. The problem with this, is that Carfentanil is extremely potent, and a small mistake can lead to the heroin mixture becoming far too powerful, with the power to cause instant overdose and death.
Carfentanil is in the U.S. today, with a significant presence in parts of Florida, though has recently spread to Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, and other states. Its use will certainly increase the chance overdose deaths, although it’s hard for heroin users to know if their heroin mixture has been cut with Carfentanil, and to what degree. Miami has already seen over 200 overdose deaths, and Pennsylvania has confirmed at least 2 deaths.
“Carfentanil is a real danger to our communities,” says Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Indeed, Ohio has already experienced several overdoses in 2016.
Who Uses Carfentanil?
There’s no “typical Carfentanil user.” The drug is far too powerful to be used in humans on a regular basis, and even when it is found “cut” or mixed with other drugs, it is usually in very small amounts; these small amounts, however, are often enough to kill. The typical individual that ends up using Carfentanil, is often an unsuspecting user of heroin. While the user thinks they are buying heroin mixed with the regular less-dangerous “cuts,” it is actually cut with this dangerous drug.
The Dangers of Carfentanil
Only highly trained medical or law enforcement professionals should handle Carfentanil. Even professionals are careful when handling the drug. Veterinarians, zookeepers, and others take great care and preparation when bringing in Carfentanil to tranquilize large animals. Using Carfentanil results in several severe symptoms, including respiratory distress, drowsiness, disorientation, and clammy skin; these symptoms usually occur within minutes but can turn fatal if not treated quickly.
Signs of Carfentanil Exposure and Addiction
Symptoms of Carfentanil exposure must be treated immediately if the patient is to survive. Respiratory and cardiac distress or -arrest are common, as are a weak pulse or loss of consciousness. Additionally, look for symptoms like nausea and vomiting, pinpoint pupils, or unusual drowsiness. If you can get a patient to the hospital at this stage, he or she has a better chance of survival.
Getting Help with Carfentanil Addiction
If you or a loved one is addicted to opioids or heroin, you should know that Carfentanil is already on the streets mixed with heroin. There has never been a more dangerous time to be a heroin addict and user in the United States; however, there has never been a more opportune time to take the steps towards getting clean. With the dangers already out there, each use of heroin is a game of roulette that could end with overdose and death.