Recent media reports have warned of a dangerous new drug cocktail being used illegally that has been linked to a rising number of fatal overdoses: fentanyl-laced cocaine. Addiction specialists at cocaine addiction centers around the country know about the very high risks of fentanyl when abused on its own, let alone in combination with cocaine.
A new and very sinister practice of combining the substance with cocaine is emerging as something of a trend among drug traffickers and dealers. The dangers of this lethal cocktail are significant because fentanyl is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin and combining it with cocaine massively increases the risk of fatal overdose. Cocaine addiction centers across America report a rise in the number of clients dealing with combined cocaine and opioid addiction which alarmingly, many are unaware they have.
Abuse of Fentanyl-Laced Cocaine on the Rise
The main reason this combination is so potent is because it combines stimulants (cocaine) with depressants (fentanyl), which can cause drowsiness among other effects. When used together, these two types of drugs work against each other by interrupting the brain’s neurotransmitters in very different ways. This leads to a feeling of confusion that creates a sensation of not being fully present in the moment or somehow disconnected from the world.
Fentanyl is most commonly prescribed to cancer patients who are experiencing breakthrough pain and require rapid pain relief. Due to the potency of fentanyl, it is generally prescribed for people who have already been using opioids for pain relief who may have developed tolerance after continued use. In many respects fentanyl is a drug that people “graduate” to from opioids when dealing with chronic pain, such is the risk of unintentional overdose.
Because of fentanyl’s high potential for abuse, it is a schedule II controlled substance. That said, many people using cocaine may not even be aware that they have bought this lethal combination. This heightens the risk of fatal overdose considerably as smaller doses of this combination are much more toxic than the user realizes. People who combine fentanyl with cocaine, whether intentionally or accidentally are very likely to descend rapidly into addiction unless they seek cocaine rehab treatment as soon as possible in a cocaine addiction center.
Fentanyl Increasingly Found in Cocaine
Statistics show that fentanyl-laced cocaine is becoming a significant problem in America, with several states recording a growing number of seizures of cocaine that is found to be laced with the substance. Many cocaine addiction centers also report a rising number of fatal overdoses resulting from the lethal cocktail of cocaine and fentanyl. This is an issue that is of particular concern to cocaine users as they are very unlikely to know exactly what they are buying from street dealers.
Although many cocaine users don’t know they are also taking fentanyl, there are plenty who deliberately engage in the practice which is known as “speedballing”. The combination of the stimulant effects of cocaine with the depressant properties of fentanyl mixes two different types of euphoric feeling to create one big rush. The cocaine boosts energy levels while the fentanyl minimizes the anxiety and jumpiness the user would otherwise feel.
Many law enforcement and addiction specialists believe that cocaine is being deliberately laced with fentanyl by cartels as it ensures recreational users also become addicted to opioids, and ultimately increases their market share. However, whether this is the case or not cannot be proven.
The Dangers of the Fentanyl-Cocaine Surge
Irrespective of how the combination of fentanyl and cocaine occurs, it is an issue that is very much regarded as a public health issue. The main concern is that many people believe they are using cocaine on its own and may have never used opioids before. People who have not used opioids before are much more likely to take an accidental overdose, especially if they don’t realize they have been mixed into the cocaine they buy.
This is mainly because regular opioid users develop a tolerance to the substance, which means their bodies have become used to the way opioids work and they now need more to get the same effects. Without a developed tolerance, it is impossible to predict how a person will respond to a substance as powerful as fentanyl and the risk of fatal overdose cannot be underemphasized.
The increase in combined cocaine and fentanyl use is frightening for drug users although cocaine rehab can help them overcome substance abuse. Even an overdose of fentanyl-cocaine cocktails can be reversed immediately with drugs like naloxone if help is found promptly. Cocaine rehabilitation centers offer specific programs for people also dealing with fentanyl abuse who may have become addicted to opioids without knowing.
Treatment for Cocaine and Fentanyl Abuse
There are around 15,000 cocaine rehab centers across America offering treatment programs for fentanyl-cocaine abuse. One of the most effective programs addressing this type of addiction combines holistic components with evidence-based therapies. Holistic cocaine rehabilitation centers focus on natural techniques and practices for healing that can be used for many years after cocaine rehab in recovery.
Drugs like cocaine and fentanyl have a direct impact on the brain, which can lead to long-term mental health problems. Cocaine rehabilitation centers provide a clear path towards recovery that prepares individuals for coping with daily stressors that would otherwise lead to substance abuse. Significant lifestyle changes are required for people to fully recover from addiction and holistic therapies provide them with effective mechanisms to help sustain sobriety for the long haul.