What You Need to Know About Fentanyl
Young people in Arizona are overdosing and dying at an alarming rate from counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl. Oftentimes, they get these pills through social media apps right on their phones. But, there’s something you can do to protect your family, your friends, and your neighbors.
Fentanyl Facts for Families
What is fentanyl and how does it work in the body?
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid, similar to morphine but 50 to 100 times more potent. In its prescription form it is prescribed for pain, but fentanyl is also made illegally and distributed as a street drug. Illegal fentanyl is sold as a powder or made into pills that look like real prescription opioids (pain relievers).
Fentanyl works by binding to the body’s opioid receptors, which are found in areas of the brain that control pain and emotions. Its effects include euphoria, drowsiness, nausea, confusion, constipation, sedation, tolerance, addiction, respiratory depression and arrest, unconsciousness, coma, and death.
Why is fentanyl a problem in Arizona?
Fentanyl is the most common substance found in opioid overdose deaths in Arizona – teens as young as 14 years old have overdosed and died.
Illegal fentanyl is being mixed with other drugs, such as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. This is especially dangerous because people are often unaware that fentanyl has been added. The high potency of fentanyl greatly increases risk of overdose, especially if a person who uses drugs is unaware that a powder or pill contains it. Naloxone is a medicine that can be given to a person to reverse a fentanyl overdose. Multiple naloxone doses might be necessary because of fentanyl’s potency.