Illegal narcotics vs. synthetic opiats and the dangers involved

Jaycie Lewis , Reporter

Synthetic opiate; what could that be?  Back in the 1960s, fentanyl was first made as a potent synthetic pain medication which is quick to take effect but did not very long lasting.  Fentanyl was used intravenously as an anesthetic and is also used for pain medication for patients with cancer and other terminal illnesses.  By the 1990s, illegal drug manufacturers were incorporating small amounts of fentanyl in heroin.  Unfortunately, these manufacturers were unable to correctly measure out a non-lethal dose, thereby causing users to overdose.

Some prescription pills are opiate based and highly addictive.  Because of the ease of getting such prescription medication, not only adults but teenagers were getting addicted to them.  As the demand for these pills grew, so did the cost.   Users were unable to either purchase or steal these prescription medications and therefore turned to heroin, which was cheaper and gave the user a better high.

Have you ever heard the term “chasing the dragon”?  It means after a user gets their first high, they will continuously use more and more to get that same high but never do, therefore coining the term.

Fast forward to the 21st century, with the market in such high demand for illegal drugs, manufacturers are not only lacing heroin but cocaine, synthetic marijuana (Spice), and methamphetamine (Ice) with fentanyl.  Fentanyl is a very deadly substance which takes only about 6 to 7 grains of salt to kill an adult.  This drug can be absorbed through the skin, or in the lungs if made airborne.  If too much enters the human body, it causes the part of the brain that tells your lungs to function to stop.  Therefore, if immediate medical attention is not received, one can suffocate.

A new drug on the rise is identified as carfentanyl.  It is 10,000 times more deadly than regular fentanyl.  To put this in perspective, it is used as a tranquilizer big game (i.e. Elephants, Rhinos, etc.).  Regarding this, carfentanyl is starting to completely replace the already dangerous fentanyl throughout the United States.

In closing, please be careful how and what you come into contact with, because that crystalline substance that you find, which looks like salt, could possibly injure or kill you.