We’ve made a lot of progress in the past decade: smart phones, new scientific finds, cures for diseases and disorders, even digitizing everything you can possibly think of. The last 11 years have been arguably some of the most innovative years in human history.
Unfortunately, some of the accomplishments are doing far more harm than good.
What I’m referring to is the newfound potency of illicit drugs in recent years as well as the development of new substances that can be abused. At this very moment, fentanyl powder is considered one of the most deadly and potent drugs available. It’s becoming more prevalent in different illicit substances such as cocaine and heroin. The issue is the strength of this drug. It has been blamed for the recent increase in overdose-related deaths in the last five years.
THE WORLD’S DEADLIEST DRUG
So, what makes fentanyl powder so potent and deadly? Well first, the powder is simply the narcotic pain medication fentanyl in a different form. Typically speaking, when fentanyl is used in the proper channels for medical purposes it can be found in lollipops, trans dermal patches, tablets, lozenges, nasal sprays, and even injected intravenously by medical professionals in hospital settings. Fentanyl is one of the most potent opiate-based pain medications on the market, notoriously known for being fifty to one hundred times the potency of morphine. It is also 30-50 times more potent than heroin itself, making for some serious side effects if abused.
Needless to say, fentanyl powder is dangerous.
Typically prescribed for only serious medical conditions or after surgery, it can be used as a portion of anesthesia or used to help alleviate pain after surgery. It’s also prescribed to cancer patients with severe chronic pain.
However, in recent years, it’s found a new home: inside different street drugs, primarily heroin.
Sourced from China and Mexico, fentanyl is being used as a cutting agent in heroin to make it “better” by increasing its potency. This is causing a substantial rise in fentanyl powder overdose deaths due to addicts being unaware that the drug is in their heroin, requiring a significantly lower dose for the same effect. On top of that, going through withdrawal for a fentanyl powder addiction can be just as dangerous due to the side effects of stopping cold turkey.
BUT WHAT IS FENTANYL POWDER?
Fentanyl typically comes in a solid or liquid form. Fentanyl powder is merely a new medium for fentanyl to enter the system. Fentanyl powder is even more dangerous than regular fentanyl due to its vast mobility and granular nature. When in its powdered form, fentanyl is not contained to one area, making accidental exposure far more likely than when dealing with the fentanyl patch or the lollipops. This is exactly what happened to one Ohio police officer during a routine traffic stop turned drug bust that almost took his life.
In East Liverpool, OH, in the rust belt where the majority of the overdose deaths associated with the opioid crisis are occurring at an alarming rate, a police officer was exposed to this deadly substance. During a traffic stop, police officers detained two suspects who were believed to be in the middle of a drug deal. It was during this traffic stop that the officer in question was initially confronted with the fentanyl powder. A trace amount of the substance remained on his uniform, and while he attempted to merely brush the fentanyl powder off of his shirt, the minute amount that came into contact with his skin was enough to cause him to collapse within minutes and send him to the hospital.
The officer ended up requiring a dose of Narcan, the life saving anti-overdose drug. Luckily, thanks to the quick response of paramedics and the effectiveness of the Narcan, the officer’s life was spared. But this calls into question just how powerful this narcotic substance truly is. Even just a trace amount of fentanyl powder was enough to almost kill a grown man.
FENTANYL POWDER AND THE HEROIN USER
Now that you understand the deadly nature of fentanyl powder, it’s far easier to comprehend why the opioid epidemic in this country has become such a dire situation. More heroin users than ever are suffering overdoses, some so severe that even the life-saving Narcan cannot revive them. Fentanyl powder is making the drug more potent than ever. Using heroin is more dangerous than gun violence, with an estimated 120 lives lost per day as a result of the opioid epidemic. But due to heroin’s addictive nature, it can be very difficult to stop using, even knowing the potential for overdose.