Comparing the Most Potent Opioid Drugs
Table of Contents
- Comparing the Most Potent Opioid Drugs
- What is Fentanyl?
- What Is Carfentanil?
- What Are Opioid Receptors?
- Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms
- Forms of Opioid Addiction Treatment
- Addiction Treatment for Opioids: Found Here
- Medically Reviewed By
As the opioid epidemic continues to worsen in our society, it is important to understand the opioids that are around. Opioids are a form of drug that are used medically as pain relievers, however, can develop dependence and addiction within individuals.
Opioid prescriptions are usually provided for individuals with intense short-term pain. This allows individuals to better manage their experience rather than struggle through their suffering. Although they provide these individuals with comfort, long-term use and use of more potent or stronger opioids can have detrimental effects on an individual.
Keep reading to find out more about the danger of carfentanyl vs fentanyl, and both in comparison to heroin and other opioids, as well as much more information!
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is one of many synthetic opioids however, it is much stronger than many other opioids. Fentanyl is a prescription medication that was created for medical patients who suffered from severe, crippling pain due to cancer and extremely invasive surgeries.
It was created with the idea that it would be administered solely by a doctor until it began to be sold as a prescription that could be picked up at any pharmacy or drugstore.
In pharmaceutical forms, Fentanyl is often sold as a lollipop or a lozenge, and even a time-release gel patch. Unfortunately, it has also been crafted illegally in powder form and has been widely used to make other drugs more potent.
The dangers of fentanyl on the streets is that the minimal difference between a professionally administered dose, and one performed by an amateur, can be immediately fatal – resulting in dangerous health conditions and even sudden death.
Fentanyl was created to treat breakthrough pain, meaning a patient who was already taking opiates, could be administered fentanyl if they were still experiencing discomfort. This means that fentanyl was purposefully created to be stronger than the original opioid they were taking.
Fentanyl is not the starting drug that is used in medical use due to its potency. Its main purpose is to provide comfort and alleviate painful experiences for individuals struggling with excessive pain and opioid tolerance.
Respiratory Depression After Fentanyl Use
Opioids are a major central nervous system depressant which means an individual will experience a sedating or relaxing effect when using opioids. Alcohol is another example of a central nervous system depressant.
Respiratory depression is common with opioid use and is to be expected however, it is especially present in fentanyl use. Fentanyl has been shown to affect the respiratory system more rapidly and strongly than other opioids such as heroin.
Fentanyl influences muscle stiffness, specifically in the diaphragm which prevents the lungs from properly taking in air. This effect has been referred to as ‘wooden chest.’
What Are Fentanyl Analogs?
Fentanyl analogs are drugs that are fentanyl derivatives. These fentanyl-related substances are based on the makeup of fentanyl and are illegal alterations of the drug. Fentanyl was created as a stronger opioid to assist individuals with a high tolerance towards opioid medications.
Many of the new fentanyl analogs are created with small alterations as a method to get around the laws and policies against production. This can lead to an individual taking in immensely toxic substances and leads to many overdoses, driving up the number of overdose deaths dramatically in recent years.
What Is Carfentanil?
Carfentanil is an analog synthetic version of Fentanyl, created to be more potent, and cheaper. Outfitted law enforcement professionals must exercise extreme caution while handling this substance with as potent it is.
It is important for individuals to receive immediate medical attention when dealing with carfentanil, fentanyl, or any other fentanyl-related compound, such as the new ISO drug being found in Florida. Their effects on an individual may lead them to face sudden death.
Carfentanil is used as a veterinary medicine for tranquilizing large mammals, such as elephants. With this being the case, a minuscule amount of this substance may be lethal for a person.
Unfortunately, people have been illegally trafficking the drug into the states in large amounts, and have been cutting it into bags of heroin to turn a profit. It has quietly slipped into every city and small town across the country.
In a single weekend, Cincinnati recorded 30 overdoses, followed by another 78, along with three deaths within a 48-hour period in the subsequent days. That is simply one city alone. Since the widespread introduction of Carfentanil, overdose rates have shot up to terrifying new heights.
The most elusive aspect of the drug is that it looks like regular table salt, however, only a few granules are enough to be fatal. The alarming rates of overdose due to Heroin, Fentanyl, and Carfentanil have finally started to shake the stigma of drug addiction across the country.
Although it comes as a devastating blow to our society, the national and local governments have finally started to make changes toward providing help to those suffering from addiction.
What Is The Analgesic Potency of Carfentanil and Fentanyl?
Analgesic potency refers to the strength of a drug that works to relieve pain. This scale relation for the level of potency refers directly to the strength of morphine to relieve pain for individuals. There are many other opioids with higher levels of potency when compared to morphine however, fentanyl and carfentanil are immensely high.
The level of fentanyl is about 100 times more potent than morphine is within an individual. This means an individual requires significantly less fentanyl to create equivalent or similar effects as morphine.
Carfentanil, as an analog of fentanyl, would make sense to be similar to fentanyl in effects however, carfentanil is significantly more potent than fentanyl. Carfentanil is 100 times more potent than fentanyl and 10,000 times more potent than morphine.
This makes these two substances wildly dangerous. Carfentanil was developed to neutralize large mammals such as elephants. Only properly trained professionals should handle this drug.
Is Fentanyl Addictive?
Yes, fentanyl is a very addictive substance. As mentioned before, the potency of fentanyl is very high and opioids in general are addictive due to their euphoric effects. Although many individuals struggling with severe pain find benefit in being prescribed opioids for pain relief, they are at risk of developing dependence and addiction.
What Are Opioid Receptors?
Opioid receptors are a form of natural chemical receptors within the body. According to the National Institute of Health, these receptors are responsible for our body’s response to many hormones, neurotransmitters, and drugs.
These receptors are a core part of our body’s regulation of pain, reward, and behaviors. They are ingrained within the outer membrane of nerve cells and so when hormones, neurotransmitters, or drugs attach to them, they release chemicals to alter the body’s system.
Opioid use will lead to an influx of pleasure and a reduction of pain within an individual. This change in our bodies is what leads to individuals becoming addicted to these substances.
Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawals are one of the biggest reasons an individual will struggle with addiction. They can be very intense and relapse-provoking for individuals. As fentanyl is an opioid, an individual will experience opioid withdrawal symptoms which include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Hot and cold flashes
- Muscle cramps
- Watery discharge from eyes and nose
- Muscle aches
Managing Opioid Withdrawals
Taking on opioid withdrawals unaided may lead you to face serious health conditions and potentially dangerous situations. You may find yourself dehydrated due to the many symptoms listed above.
It is important for you to drink 2-3 liters of water to replace the fluids lost during many of the withdrawal symptoms. Dehydration can lead to other bodily problems on top of difficult withdrawals.
Keeping your body hydrated can also help with processing the remaining opioid molecules in your body. If you are struggling with opioid withdrawals, finding the proper help is key to avoiding dangerous withdrawals and overcoming this dependence.
Can You Overdose on Fentanyl?
Yes, it is very easy for an individual to overdose on fentanyl let alone carfentanil. Fentanyl is a very potent opioid and has resulted in many overdose deaths. The signs of a fentanyl overdose include:
- Falling asleep or struggling to stay conscious
- Hypoxia (Slowed or stopped breathing)
- Choking or gurgling sounds
- Limp body
- Cold or clammy skin
- Discolored nails and lips
There is help available to assist individuals who may be overdosing. Naloxone is one of the primary treatments that can save individuals from opioid overdose. Naloxone works by blocking out toxic opioid substances from attaching to the opioid receptors within the body.
This makes it so an individual may possibly reverse or stop an opioid overdose, or in this case, a fentanyl overdose. Despite naloxone’s blocking effects, an individual overdosing on fentanyl may require more than the average dose.
If you believe you or a loved one are experiencing an overdose, call emergency medical services immediately.
Forms of Opioid Addiction Treatment
Opioid addiction is a very difficult experience to overcome. With the struggles in withdrawals, an individual is likely to relapse as a way to manage their experience. Thankfully, there are many different treatment options available to support struggling individuals.
Opioids are very addictive substances that our bodies begin to rely on the longer it is used which makes it important for an individual to go through drug detoxification. This is a process that allows individuals to remove a substance or substances from their bodies.
A medical detox is the safest way to go through this process and is typically the first process in the addiction recovery process. After detoxification, an individual will receive addiction-specific treatment to properly recover.
Although there are two separate treatments, behavioral therapy, and pharmacotherapy, an individual struggling with addiction will find the most benefit in receiving a combination of both therapies.
Recovering an individual’s behavioral health is a major part of addiction recovery and a necessity for properly maintaining recovery from substance abuse.
The proper treatment entails addressing all of the needs of an individual which makes it important to understand their mental state. In some cases, an individual is diagnosed with a mental health disorder they were unaware of previously.
One of the disorders that are often diagnosed is substance use disorder. A substance use disorder inhibits an individual from properly controlling their substance use with the most severe case of this disorder being addiction.
Medical Detox for Opioid Dependence
A medical detox is a detoxification program that provides a safe environment for individuals to experience withdrawals and stop opioid use. Individuals are required to live on-site during this process.
This treatment program has medical professionals available 24 hours a day to support individuals through their experiences. Medical staff can provide and administer medications as withdrawals become severe or difficult for individuals.
This allows individuals to properly process opioids and remove the drug from their bodies to prepare for addiction treatment in a safe environment.
Inpatient Treatment For Opioid Addiction
Inpatient treatment is a form of residential treatment in which individuals live on-site to receive treatment. Living on-site allows individuals to get away from their home environment or familiar triggers that may be relapse-provoking.
This treatment option also provides 24-hour care and attention to help individuals through their struggles. There are many resources available to help these individuals including counseling, medications, therapy, group sessions, and more.
Outpatient Treatment For Opioid Addiction
Outpatient treatment is a form of treatment that varies in intensity. This treatment can go for extended times lengthening for a large portion of the day or can be a small part that takes up little time.
These varying intensities provide individuals with treatment options that may be beneficial to them in receiving treatment. Individuals with other responsibilities such as work or school can continue to receive treatment while continuing these responsibilities.
There is some question about whether pharmacotherapy is a good treatment for opioid treatment as some of the medications are opioid treatments which leaves individuals to view pharmacotherapy as a form of substitution rather than actual treatment.
Pharmacotherapy works by stimulating the opioid receptors without harmful effects on the individual. This allows an individual to be supported through the intense withdrawals while taking on addiction treatment for their experience.
Individuals struggling through severe withdrawals are able to remain engaged and connected with the addiction treatment provided to them while utilizing the medications provided through pharmacotherapy.
Behavioral therapy furthers addiction treatment and allows individuals to relearn how to healthily and properly process many life experiences. Individuals are able to retake control of their life on their own through the learned healthy skills and techniques.
Behavioral therapy allows individuals to move forward and lead a stable life without relying on substances as a way to manage their experience.
Addiction Treatment for Opioids: Found Here
Whether finding a treatment center in your location or connecting you with recovery tools and resources, our hotline is available 24/7 to make sure you can get the help you need, anytime you need it.
With dangerous substances like these, it is important to find help quickly. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please reach out today!
Bryan was born in Philadelphia and remains an ardent supporter of Philadelphia sports. After attending FSU and FAU where he majored in writing, Bryan ventured out to follow in the footsteps of his idols, running straight into drug addiction. After being arrested by the President’s Secret Service, Bryan finally started to rebuild his life and beat that monkey off of his back through writing, playing music, and studying Buddhist philosophy.
Despite still having the occasional struggles with mental health, Bryan strives to be a little bit better a person each day. With the support and love from a loyal family, and kind-hearted and generous friends, Bryan tries to help people vanquish their own personal demons as he did and bring more love and beauty into a pessimistic world.