What Is Carfentanil?
Carfentanil, like fentanyl, is so strong that even inhaling or touching it can be lethal. It is also cheap to make, and that’s why it’s often sold on the streets disguised as heroin. But carfentanil is 50 times more potent than heroin.
Its presence in the United States drug market accounts for increased overdose deaths because of its potency and severe side effects.
What Is Carfentanil?
Carfentanil is a highly potent synthetic opioid classified as a Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substance Act. It has a very similar makeup as fentanyl, its chemical cousin, a synthetic opioid used for pain relief.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) describes carfentanil as 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl. This makes the lethal dose unknown but is dependent on how the drug is consumed and other factors.
Carfentanil is used as a tranquilizer for large animals and has never been approved for human use. Only about 2-milligrams of the drug are enough to sedate an average-sized elephant. Even this small amount is enough to kill about 50 people.
As carfentanil use increases in popularity, it has adopted street names, including:
- Elephant tranquilizer
- Gray death
- Serial killer
Being familiar with these terms can help keep you from accidentally interacting or consuming this deadly substance.
The Carfentanil High
According to World Health Organization (WHO) reports, opioid users who think they have used carfentanil compared to heroin feel a “more intense rush, greater potency, and a shorter period of effects.” Other opioid users reported an unpleasant high, describing it as “a mucky, dirty feeling.”
Other adverse effects were reported, including:
- A “flushing” effect in the face
- Shortness of breath
- Blurry vision
- Skin tingling
Although carfentanil is usually added to other substances, it is impossible to determine if these adverse effects are due to the drug itself, the other substances, or the combination.
The side effects of carfentanil use include:
- Pinpoint pupils
- Shallow breathing
- Loss of consciousness
- Weak pulse
- Cold clammy skin
Typically, the user doesn’t know they are using carfentanil, but reportedly, a reduced sense of euphoria is felt compared to morphine or heroin.
Carfentanil is not mentioned in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), and the Global Drug Survey doesn’t discuss its use. There haven’t been any controlled studies of carfentanil’s non-medical use, abuse, or physical dependence potential.
Signs and symptoms of a carfentanil overdose are similar to an opioid overdose, including:
- Immediate blue discoloration of the lips
- Gurgling sounds with breathing
- Stiffening of the body
- Seizure-like activity
- Foaming at the mouth
Combining opioids with other drugs like heroin, cocaine, alcohol, or benzodiazepines can depress the respiratory and central nervous systems, causing an overdose that can be lethal.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported a concerning number of carfentanil-related deaths in some states. From July 2016-June 2017, among the 11,045 opioid overdose deaths, 2,275 tested positive for carfentanil. In Ohio alone, 400 deaths occurred during July-December of 2016.
With this dangerous synthetic opioid on the rise, it’s crucial to stay aware of its overdose symptoms. If you think someone is experiencing an overdose, call 911 immediately.
Always be ready to administer naloxone (Narcan), an opioid overdose antidote. Immediately administering naloxone can reverse a carfentanil overdose, although multiple doses may be needed.
Addiction Treatment in Northridge, California
Carfentanil can kill you, especially if you don’t know you’re using it. If you or a loved one is addicted to a synthetic opioid, it can also have deadly consequences.
Northridge Addiction Treatment Center has a team of professional and caring therapists, counselors, and nurses to help people manage their substance use disorder.
Our residential treatment program can teach you the dangers of carfentanil and how it’s mixed with various other drugs. This helps people understand the risks associated with drug abuse to encourage a healthier life in recovery.
Seeking help to start the recovery process can seem dreadful, but support is available. Our treatment specialists are eager to assist you in finding the right rehabilitation for your needs.
Allow us to put you on your path to recovery. Call today.
Find Meaningful Recovery
Our caring and compassionate specialists are eager to help you comfortably navigate this journey to recovery. Our individualized treatment plan, programs, and therapies may be a perfect match for you or your loved one. Let us assist you in living the happy life you deserve. It starts with a phone call.