As the drug epidemic continues, the trend of abusing opioids and alcohol is steadily growing. This has significantly raised the concerns of health regulators and drug enforcement officials. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism report over 16 million Americans suffering from alcoholism and about 91 people die in the US every day due to opioid overdoses.  

As a matter of fact, there have been 500,000 cases of fatal overdoses caused by narcotic painkillers in the past fifteen years. The introduction of fentanyl as an illicit drug in 2012 has increased the number of overdoses tremendously.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid painkiller, around 80-100 times stronger than morphine. It is a highly potent drug and works in a similar fashion as oxycodone and hydrocodone. Some reports portray that the drug is even stronger than heroin, an illicit opioid that is also widely abused.

Fentanyl is a prescription drug given to those with extremely severe pain conditions for cancer-suffering patients. Fentanyl actually has significant medical benefits, but the potential for addiction is high and can turn out to be very dangerous when abused.

The reason fentanyl has become a more common drug is because it is developed in various forms, then sold illegally at a low price, significantly cheaper than heroin. Fentanyl also serves as a substitute for many narcotics, which leads abusers to misuse and experience fatal overdoses. This drug has the ability to slow breathing rate and constrict a person’s respiratory system which leads to death. Fentanyl is so potent that accidental overdoses can be experienced just from coming into physical contact with the drug.

There is a widespread practice of mixing fentanyl with other illicit drugs and alcohol. This is usually done with the intention of experiencing an increased sense of euphoria. This can be risky, as combining substances poses a greater chance for an overdose as well as heighten the potential for addiction. The most common drugs that fentanyl is mixed with are Xanax, heroin, and alcohol. This blog will discuss the danger of mixing fentanyl with each of the illicit substances listed below.

Xanax

mixing fentanyl with Xanax

Xanax is a benzodiazepine and a prescription sedative, used to treat anxiety disorders. Xanax is misused recreationally and often self-prescribed by users. Users tend to consume Xanax to overcome stressful feelings and experience a sense of relaxation that comes with the drug. Xanax has been found to be laced (sometimes unknowingly) with fentanyl then sold in illicit markets.

Combining Xanax and fentanyl intensifies their effects. As much as the effect can be appealing for the user, it is extremely dangerous. The majority of the users rarely know that they are actually consuming fentanyl with Xanax and in this scenario, risk escalates significantly. Users do not have as much tolerance for opioids as other users, making this mixing fatal for some.

Heroin

As with Xanax, it is quite possible that users do not mix fentanyl with other drugs intentionally. Rather, they are unaware that the drugs they are consuming are contaminated. Fentanyl is widely distributed in the drug market, imposing substantial harm to addicts without their knowledge.

Heroin is often substituted with fentanyl in order to achieve an elevated high without having to purchase as much of the substance. Moreover, being 40 to 50 times more potent than heroin, the drug can be made more addictive for the users due to enhanced effects. This ultimately builds an immensely profitable market for illicit drug sellers.

Chemically speaking, heroin and fentanyl are both nonpolar molecules that are soluble in fat. This makes them easier to pass through the blood-brain barrier, intended to keep radical elements away from the brain. This enables these drugs to have a direct impact on the central nervous system and make the brain increasingly dependent. Mixing fentanyl with heroin can cause fatal overdoses and intensified addiction.

Alcohol

Mixing any opioid with alcohol is very dangerous and has fatal consequences. Alcohol and opioids both are central nervous system depressants, and one can heighten the impact of the other. If you are on a fentanyl prescription, you are strongly advised against mixing it with alcohol.

Combining fentanyl with alcohol can cause a number of reactions and symptoms. These include extreme confusion, low body temperature (hypothermia), seizures, vomiting, slowed heart rate, and shallow/obstructed breathing. It is never safe to mix alcohol with drugs, prescription or illicit. We highly recommend staying away from mind-body altering substances of any kind, because you can never be certain of the purity or potency of what you’re taking.

All it takes is one unfortunate instance, so don’t take that risk. Call Arizona Addiction Recovery instead: we are readily available to help get your life back on the right track.

Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Arizona Addiction Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 888-512-1705.

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