According to the Centers for Disease Control, illegally made fentanyl is responsible for the recent rise in synthetic opioid overdoses. Death due to overdosing on opiates rose an alarming 47% to more than 28,400 deaths in 2017 alone.
Opioid users and abusers are finding creative and devastating new ways to access synthetic opioids now that legislators are cracking down. One of these methods may be responsible for the rise in synthetic fentanyl production.
Illegal drug manufacturers are harvesting this opioid from fentanyl patches, which are legal when prescribed by a physician. However, when people extract fentanyl from transdermal patches, this isn’t just illegal. It’s highly dangerous, too.
Do you know someone who may be using fentanyl patches for recreational synthetic opioid sale or consumption? Read this guide about recognizing fentanyl patches to save someone you love before it’s too late.
What Do Fentanyl Patches Look Like?
Prescription fentanyl patches typically come in a small square or rectangular package made of plastic. It may state the innovator or generic name in the top left corner of the package. It should always say “fentanyl” in bright, bold letters on the front of the package.
The patch itself is mostly square with a small triangular tab for removal. Some generic brand patches are made in a long, rectangular shape with the added tab for removal.
Another thing to look for is the fentanyl dosage stamped onto the removal strip. It will likely state the name of the drug plus a dosage in micrograms per hour. This makes it easier for patients if they lose the plastic package and easier for you to recognize if someone is using fentanyl illegally.
The Legal Use of Transdermal Fentanyl
Fentanyl patches are commonly used by elderly individuals and patients of all ages with chronic pain conditions. Usually, people who aren’t able to take oral opioids are prescribed patches for their ease of use.
Fentanyl isn’t typically prescribed to someone who’s never taken opioids. Why? Because this member of the opiate family is 200 times more potent than morphine.
If you see someone you know using fentanyl patches, ask yourself whether they’ve used prescription opioids before. When the answer to that question is no, look out for the following symptoms of recreational fentanyl use:
- Anxiety and other severe changes in mood
- Social, academic, or workplace problems
- Swollen extremities
- Fatigue and dizziness
- Constipation, vomiting, or nausea
What to Do If Someone You Love is Using Illegal Fentanyl
If you or someone you love is extracting recreational opioids from fentanyl patches, it’s time to seek help or intervene. But know that you’re not alone during this frightening time.
Pathways is a Florida rehab center that can help you or your loved one get help before it’s too late. Download a brochure today to find out how we contribute to the fight against opioid addiction and how we can help you fight your addiction, too.