Fentanyl Vs Heroin: All You Need to Know
Dependency on heroin and fentanyl has become like a deadly epidemic. The use of both of these opioids is widespread all across the globe, which has made them a serious health concern. But the difference between Fentanyl vs Heroin is life threatening and the reason behind so many recent overdoses in the United States.
In 2016, more than 63 000 people registered in the U.S. died from an overdose, 66.4% of which had taken either heroin or fentanyl, or a mix of both. Deaths from fentanyl have more than doubled, and the rates from heroin overdose have increased fourfold since 2010, making these drugs a seriously dangerous and life-threatening epidemic.
This article explains everything you need to know about the differences between Fentanyl Vs Heroin, what makes them different chemically, their level of potency, and how to seek opioid treatment if needed.
How Prevalent is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is 50-100 times stronger than morphine, making it the go-to option for relieving pain. It’s a prescribed medication with potent medicinal uses with a high possibility of death from overdose. However, despite the dangers of an overdose, this drug is regularly sold illegally due to its effects that remind of heroin.
It is a massively distributed illegal drug usually mixed with cocaine, pills, or heroin to boost the euphoric effects. The reason for that is the price. Fentanyl is a lot more affordable than any other drug, which is why drug manufacturers add it to other drugs to boost their profit and sales.
Therefore, it’s a lot easier to get an accidental overdose since users have no idea they’ve been supplying their bodies with fentanyl. But, despite how dangerous it is, individuals intentionally buy it due to its potent effects, statistics show.
How Prevalent is Heroin?
Based on recent statistics, 0.37% of the world population is addicted to heroin, with the highest prevalence rate in Southeast/East Asia with 1.40%, followed by Central Asia with 0.90%, and southeast/east Europe with 0.85%.
In recent years, however, the interest in heroin has shifted towards Fentanyl, making it the more popular option for addicts.
The Main Differences Between Heroin vs Fentanyl
Heroin and Fentanyl have a major effect on the brain. They affect the same sections of the brain responsible for sedation, pain relief, and pleasure. They manipulate the brain or the reward and pleasure system until they create a dependency, making it more likely for the individual to get addicted. Both of these opioids work the same way, but they are very different in terms of:
- Recovery process
The main difference is how these drugs affect the overall system, and the key lies in their potency. Fentanyl is more powerful than heroin. And the more powerful the opioid, the greater the dependency.
Fentanyl has the power to turn a mild into a severe heroin addiction quickly. Its chemicals get absorbed in the system a lot quicker and reach the brain faster than heroin will, making it an extremely dangerous opioid for an overdose.
Fentanyl and Heroin are dealt with similarly in how they are treated if addicted. Fentanyl detox is recommended in a medical environment overseen by doctors. Detoxing from Opioids can be extremely painful and even life threatening if not handled correctly. If you need help with Fentanyl, Heroin, or any opioid, please reach out to us for help.
Why There Are So Many Fentanyl Overdoses?
Depending on how pure the drug is, it can be from 25 to up to 50 times more potent than heroin, making it a dangerous drug leading to incredibly high overdose rates.
The problem is that Fentanyl is often mixed in other drugs without the user’s knowledge. Therefore, the chance of an overdose is much higher than just taking heroin. Due to its potency, just a low amount can quickly get absorbed in the system and cause an overdose. Many overdoses from drugs like Cocaine have been laced with Fentanyl causing a much higher rate of overdose than normal.
Warning Signs of Fentanyl Addiction
Just like any other drug, fentanyl can penetrate the system and cause addiction. Being alert is the safest way to recognize the vital signs of an addiction. Many people may wrongly assume that they’ve taken the drug safely, but with long term use, the body will start to build up a tolerance to repeated doses.
The more frequent the doses, the clearer the signs of fentanyl addiction will be. If they are not recognized quickly, the drug can have a massive impact on the overall health. While some signs may be less obvious than others, like mood changes, for example. It’s still very important to be able to tell them apart and recognize the addiction on time. These signs include:
- Craving higher doses of fentanyl for more powerful effects
- Staying focused on getting the next fix for the day
- Experiencing withdrawals between each fix
- Skipping class or work to get a fix
- Massive changes in weight
- Feeling irritated
- Excessive Sleepiness
- Stealing or forging scripts
Every individual may experience less or more powerful signs of addiction. Depending on how severe or how long that individual has been using fentanyl, their signs may become more severe.
The mood changes can be more dramatic, sleepiness can feel overwhelming, and the withdrawals can become unbearable. Taking immediate action is the safest way to prevent addiction from developing any further. It’s crucial to seek treatment immediately if you’ve recognized any of these warning signs.
How to Get Treatment for Fentanyl or Heroin Addiction?
To get sober, the first and most important step is to reach out. Ask professionals or people you love and trust to take you to a specified Detox center or Rehab to help you break free from any of these drugs. Different centers offer various treatments, but in general, you will have access to group or individual therapy sessions, adequate medication, emotional, physical, and mental support. All of these factors will help you get the treatment you need and conquer the addiction.
Led by our addiction specialist, Dr. B, American Addiction of Mind and Medicine’s Opioid treatment program can help you and your loved ones recover. Reach out today if you have any questions.