Acrylfentanyl: The Dangers of Use and Addiction – As the opioid crisis continues to threaten the lives of Americans, overdose rates continue to increase. This fact makes opioid addiction a national epidemic that is endangering the nation’s public health, as well as its social and economic well-being. Today, over 115 people die every day in the United States due to opioid misuse, including drugs such as prescription painkillers, heroin, and fentanyl.
As the number of opioid overdoses increases, so does the development and distribution of analogs. Analogs are derivatives of chemically similar opioid drugs that are produced illicitly in clandestine laboratories here and abroad. One of the main purposes of the creation of analogs is to circumvent U.S. drug laws by developing new drugs before they can be classified as controlled substances.
What Is Acrylfentanyl?
Fentanyl is an extremely powerful synthetic opioid up to 100 times more potent than morphine. It is an incredibly effective painkiller that is commonly used in conjunction with other substances to produce anesthesia. Fentanyl is so powerful that a potentially deadly dosage is only 3 milligrams, compared to the lethal dosage of 30 milligrams of heroin. This fact illustrates how an addiction to fentanyl is much more dangerous than heroin addiction.
Acrylfentanyl is a fentanyl analog, a designer drug produced synthetically. It has been increasingly found on the black market and is endangering the lives of many Americans today. Chemically, it is very similar to fentanyl, but also has a slightly higher potency and longer duration of effects.
Also, in the past few years, many other equally dangerous fentanyl analogs have been introduced into the black market, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Butyryl fentanyl
- Despropionyl fentanyl
- Furanyl fentanyl
- Isobutyryl fentanyl
- Methyl fentanyl
- Para-fluoroisobutyryl fentanyl
- Valeryl fentanyl
What Makes Acrylfentanyl so Dangerous?
Like morphine, heroin, and all other opioid drugs, acrylfentanyl chemically attaches to opioid receptors in the brain that are responsible for feelings of reward and well-being. When this occurs, it precipitates a release of an excessive amount of dopamine into the brain’s reward centers, inducing euphoria and relaxation. Pain is also reduced, and these effects, over time, cause responses in the brain that produce tolerance and chemical dependence in users.
Tolerance is a byproduct of the body’s tendency to reduce the effects of certain substances after repeated exposure. When this condition develops, the user needs more of the drug to achieve the desired “high” or pain relief that he or she is seeking. If the person chooses to continue to increase their doses, this corresponds to an increased risk of experiencing a life-threatening overdose.
Chemical dependence occurs over time as the body becomes used to the presence of a substance, eventually becoming unable to function normally without it. If the user tries to quit or cut back, they are faced with the onset of a wealth of highly unpleasant effects of withdrawal. These symptoms can be very painful and distressing and are considered to be a primary incentive for the person to resume drug use in an effort to avoid them.
Because opioids also have depressant properties, and because opioid receptors are partially responsible for respiratory control, acrylfentanyl abuse can suddenly stop a person’s respiration, resulting in death. An even greater danger exists if the person uses acrylfentanyl in conjunction with other psychoactive substances, particularly other central nervous system depressants.
Acrylfentanyl is an extremely potent substance, yet even more of its insidiousness is related to the fact that it looks identical to heroin in its powder form. As such, it is easily mistaken for heroin and used as a substitute by dealers to increase a drug’s potency and maximize profits. This substitution often occurs unknown to the user, further increasing the risk for unintentional overdose.
An overdose on acrylfentanyl may be more difficult to reverse, as well. Naloxone (Narcan), an antidote to an opioid overdose, reverses the effects of most opioids and is frequently used by emergency personnel and law enforcement. However, because of the potency of fentanyl and its analogs, one dose of Narcan may not be enough to save a life.
Fentanyl and Heroin Addiction
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Using a comprehensive approach, we offer evidence-based services vital to the recovery process that includes behavioral therapy, individual and group counseling, peer group support, aftercare planning, and more.
If you or a loved one is struggling with opioid addiction, please contact us today and get the professional help you need and deserve! Our compassionate staff is available 24/7 for your support!
Related: Long-Term Effects of Heroin