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Fentanyl Myths

Woman thinking intently about fentanyl myths

There are many legitimate reasons to be concerned about fentanyl abuse and fentanyl addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, fentanyl was the leading cause of drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2021. However, there are also several fentanyl myths that everyone should be aware of. For more information about fentanyl and the efficacy of fentanyl addiction treatment, call Vertava Health Ohio today at 850.374.5331.

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is available as a pharmaceutical pain reliever. It is also sold as an illicit drug. In fact, the substance is about 50 times more potent than heroin.

Such high potency also means it carries a high risk for addiction. Like other opioids, fentanyl binds with opioid receptors in the brain, decreasing pain and creating a strong sense of pleasure.

Fatal overdose may be the greatest concern about fentanyl use, but it is not the only serious risk. Fentanyl use can also cause:

  • Heart failure or heart attack
  • Depressed respiratory system (breathing difficulties)
  • Damage to the immune system
  • Depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders
  • Bowel obstruction due to chronic constipation

Other street drugs are sometimes laced with fentanyl, making them more potent and addictive. The addition of fentanyl to heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, or other substances increases the risk of overdose.

5 Myths About Fentanyl

Separating facts from myths about fentanyl helps to ensure people get the medical and psychological care they need.

Myth 1: You Can Die from Touching Fentanyl

Despite reports of it happening, touching fentanyl or a person who is using fentanyl cannot cause a fatal overdose. Of all the current fentanyl myths, this may be the most dangerous because it could prevent someone who is overdosing from getting life-saving medical help. The American College of Medical Toxicology (ACMT) and the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology have debunked this myth several times.

Fentanyl is not easily absorbed through the skin. Even during constant contact with medicinal transdermal patches, it takes several minutes for the body to absorb a 100 mcg dose (a commonly prescribed amount).

Myth 2: Dangerous Amounts of Fentanyl Can Be Inhaled Accidentally

Powdered opioids do not aerosolize (suspend in the air). According to the ACMT, it would take extreme air movement in an enclosed space and a large amount of fentanyl to create a hazardous atmosphere. Unknowingly inhaling fentanyl is not a fact-based concern for first responders or others who encounter people using fentanyl.

Myth 3: Naloxone Won’t Work for Fentanyl Overdose

The myth that the life-saving medication naloxone doesn’t work for fentanyl may come from the fact that fentanyl is highly potent. However, it is still an opioid. Naloxone works by preventing opioids from binding with the body’s naturally occurring opioid receptors.

The use of naloxone for reversing overdoses is not 100% effective in all cases. However, according to animal research data, it is just as effective with fentanyl as it is with other opioids.

Myth 4: Rainbow Fentanyl Was Produced to Market to Children

Using colorants to distinguish one drug dealer’s product from another’s is not a new practice. Different colors of fentanyl powders and pills have been in use for some time. The concerns about “rainbow fentanyl” are misplaced, according to many experts in the field.

It is unlikely drug cartels are marketing fentanyl to young children who don’t have the cash to pay for drugs and would not make profitable repeat customers.

Myth 5: One Use of Fentanyl Causes Immediate Addiction

A single use of fentanyl does not cause immediate addiction. In fact, fentanyl can be used safely as a prescription medication for severe pain. Many factors influence the development of addiction. Mixing substances or taking more of a prescription than is safe can increase the risk of addiction, according to the CDC.

Find Fentanyl Addiction Treatment at Vertava Health Ohio

If you or someone you love is struggling with fentanyl addiction, we can help. Call Vertava Health Ohio today at 850.374.5331 for information about our effective fentanyl addiction treatment program.