Since the 1980s, fentanyl has been used as an alternative to morphine for osteoporosis (bone loss), cancer chemotherapy, severe pain relief, and general anesthesia. Today, opioid has become extremely popular in America and is frequently found among street drugs like heroin.
In November 2016, a person died during a traffic stop near Springfield, Oregon, prompting the investigation of “white powder” in their baggie. Although the substance was later determined to be fentanyl, it was the only time the drug had been found in an Oregonian’s possession. The death of 23-year-old Vincent Feazell marked the first fentanyl-related death in Oregon since 2016 and just the second in the nation that year.
The emergency room nurse who notes most fentanyl overdoses are accidental is also worried about its accessibility to teens. This is because it can be purchased in small amounts on the internet or at their high school. He fears youth and their craving to feel something—as with marijuana or alcohol—will be tempted to try the opioid. The following are reasons for this addiction.
Fentanyl is not just used by adults suffering from chronic, severe pain; it affects society’s youth, and the difference lies in accessibility. Various kinds of fentanyl can be ordered directly from the internet, and with a quick Google search, teens can have their hands on the drug in minutes. Worse, fentanyl can be absorbed through your skin and has no color or smell. This makes it extremely easy for teens to get their hands on it.
Fentanyl is highly potent, surpassing heroin and cocaine. The drug packs a punch of 50-100 times stronger than morphine. This means it only takes a small amount to become hooked on the powerful substance.
In addition to its potency, fentanyl is fast-acting. Because of this characteristic, teens are more likely to use it because it may make them feel better faster than other drugs. They will also be less inclined to recognize the dangers associated with its use. The Portland opioid crisis has been exacerbated by a lack of education about the dangers of fentanyl and its potential for addiction.
New Formulas in the Market
The traditional fentanyl was only potent on overdose. However, there is now a pill that is illicitly and illegally manufactured. These differ from traditional fentanyl and focus more on getting a rush than controlling pain. It is mixed with heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and ecstasy. These pills have already been found in Oregon and are a severe threat.
These new types of fentanyl are most dangerous in their unpredictability. Like heroin, the drug can be laced with other substances, resulting in a potentially fatal overdose. Unfortunately, this is what is making overdoses so frequent and fatal.
Misconceptions About Fentanyl
Fentanyl is highly deadly, even in minuscule amounts. However, teens mistake it for a harmless drug. The following are common myths about this drug and its effects on teens.
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Fentanyl is not Life-Threatening Because it is not as Addictive as Other Drugs.
The drug’s potency means teens can get high from even small amounts of fentanyl. This makes them more likely to become addicted to the drug and take more than what is safe for their bodies.
Fentanyl is not that Dangerous Because You Cannot Overdose On It.
Because the drug is so potent, even a minuscule amount can be lethal. There are just a few milligrams of fentanyl in each one of these new pills. A small enough amount to not feel it, but still enough to be lethal.
Fentanyl isn’t Addictive Because it Doesn’t Make People High
Fentanyl only has less effect than morphine if a person does not take enough. This means there is no difference between taking too little and too much. This makes people more likely to become addicted because they feel good but won’t recognize the danger of doing so. It also means that people can snatch up these pills on the street without thinking twice because they do not act like other opioids do when ingested.
Locals in Oregon can combat the Portland opioid crisis. Currently, the drug has been found in almost all communities in Oregon. One way they can help is by not using opioids as a solution. A person physically dependent on opioids is more likely to switch to fentanyl because they can satisfy their cravings while still functioning normally. They are also more likely to use the drug recreationally, which raises the risk of addiction.
To prevent the spread of fentanyl, we must help raise awareness and educate ourselves on the dangers of this drug. This can only be done if we are willing to educate our children. Teens tend to be more likely to experiment with different kinds of drugs, just like they do with alcohol and cigarettes. This is because they are more accepting of new things compared to adults. For example, a study in Brooklyn, NY, found that teens were more likely than adults to drink alcohol at home and in public places. They were also more likely to drink without concern for their safety.
This can be attributed to teens being new to many things in life and willing to try new drugs. This can also be attributed to increased risk-taking and the desire for surges in emotion. Teens tend to be more passionate about things than adults, making them more likely to get hooked on drugs like fentanyl. Therefore we must keep an eye on our children because they are at higher risk of becoming addicted.
If you or a loved one are suffering from fentanyl addiction in or around Oregon, we have included resources here for finding treatment in Oregon.