Fentanyl abuse is a crisis affecting people across the country. And according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, this issue is only getting worse as more and more individuals die from fentanyl overdoses and other health complications due to synthetic opioids. Part of the problem is that for a lot of people, they don’t even realize they’re engaging in fentanyl abuse, since fentanyl is added to drugs without the buyer’s knowledge in an attempt for dealers to turn a larger profit.
And unfortunately, veterans are at increased risk of fentanyl abuse since they are predisposed to addiction. So many veterans are asking themselves: What does fentanyl look like? And how can I spot street fentanyl to keep myself safe? Today, we’re sharing crucial resources to help military personnel protect themselves from the dangers of fentanyl abuse.
What Is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid (meaning it was made in a lab) that is roughly 100 times more potent than morphine. Since it’s synthetic, fentanyl has been specially designed to be more potent than other opioids. This makes it a popular choice for dealers who want to dilute their product without their customers realizing.
While this might be good for the dealer’s bottom dollar, it’s actively harmful to people who can’t recognize fentanyl in their drugs. Without knowing what they’re taking, people can easily overdose, and a fentanyl overdose can be deadly without medical intervention.
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Fentanyl does have potential positive uses, though. Fentanyl medication is sometimes taken to treat pain after surgery, although this is usually stopped once the patient leaves the hospital, due to fentanyl’s high risk of addiction. Typically dealers will either steal fentanyl from local healthcare providers or make their own fentanyl at home, which can increase the risk of overdose since it may not be chemically identical to fentanyl medication.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of what fentanyl is and how it’s used, what does fentanyl look like?
What Does Fentanyl Look Like?
Fentanyl can be hard to spot, especially when it’s mixed into other drugs, but there are a few things you can do to identify fentanyl.
First, check the color. Many drugs, such as cocaine or methamphetamine, are pure white in powder forms. But when they’ve been cut with something, like fentanyl, their color can change. Typically, fentanyl creates patches of brown spots in the product, and this can be helpful in identifying fentanyl in drugs. Keep in mind that this method is far from foolproof, but if you do see brown spots in your drugs, they may be laced with fentanyl.
Increasingly, fentanyl pills have surged into communities. These are pills that appear to be Xanax, Oxycodone, or another medication, but are actually laced with fentanyl. Sometimes these fentanyl pills may also be marketed as another opioid, methamphetamine, ecstasy, or benzodiazepines. In some cases, the color or the numbering on the pill may be abnormal, which can help identify fentanyl. However, just as often, there is no clear physical difference to identify a fentanyl pill.
Whenever you’re unsure what fentanyl looks like in a given drug, you should always use a fentanyl test strip. While knowing what fentanyl looks like can help you spot the synthetic opioid, this method is much more reliable. However, it’s not infallible. Due to low concentrations of fentanyl and user error, a fentanyl test strip can sometimes not detect fentanyl in a drug. So what should you do after using a test strip?
If you choose to take the drugs anyway, start slowly. Take a small amount, then wait 20 seconds to see how intense the effect is, and either stop or continue slowly depending on how you feel. Moreover, you should only use drugs with another person who has naloxone on hand, since this life-saving treatment can make all the difference if there’s a fentanyl overdose.
How Can I Avoid Fentanyl?
Unfortunately, drug dealers are not likely to start prioritizing public health over profits. And even with fentanyl test strips, there is no guaranteed way to spot fentanyl in any substances you take. For that reason, the only way for veterans to stay completely safe from fentanyl is to stop taking illicit drugs.
At our veteran rehab center in DeLand, Florida, we understand how concerning fentanyl can be. And if you’ve taken it, knowingly or not, we’re ready to start helping with our veteran detox program. At this level of care, you will receive medical supervision while detoxing from harmful substances. This not only helps ensure your safety, but it greatly lowers your risk of relapse.
After completing detox, most people choose to enroll in our residential rehabilitation program. This is where you will learn the coping skills and behavioral health strategies to quit drug and alcohol for good. At our veteran rehab, we are staffed by veterans who understand the issues you’re going through. With their backgrounds and professional addiction treatment training, you can feel confident in your recovery and your path toward a happier life.
After completing our residential program, many people choose to enroll in outpatient programs like our partial hospitalization program and intensive outpatient program. These level of care differ in intensity, but both allow you to live at home while continuing to receive professional addiction treatment. This can be a big help when transitioning back to life after rehab, especially if you’re not totally secure in your sobriety yet.
Wherever your recovery journey takes you, we will be there, even after treatment. Because we are committed to ensuring your safety and prosperity as you move forward in your life. Would you like to learn more about our veteran rehab center in DeLand, Florida? Call our admissions specialists at 888-838-6692 or ask your questions online. No matter where you’re at in recovery, we’ve got your six!
Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed way to identify what fentanyl tastes like. Different types of fentanyl mixed with different things may taste radically different, so a taste test is not an effective way to tell if something contains fentanyl.
Unfortunately, there is no surefire way to identify a fentanyl pill. In some cases, the pill may be an unusual color or not have the right numbers on it. However, drug dealers often do their best to make the pills look like the real thing, so oftentimes there is no physical marking of a fentanyl pill.
When sold as a powder, fentanyl can look varying levels of off-white to light brown. When it is mixed into other powders, fentanyl tends to bring an off-brown color to the mixture.
When taken as prescribed, fentanyl usually comes as a shot, a skin patch, or as lozenges. When sold illegally, fentanyl can be sold as a powder, on blotting paper, in eye droppers and nasal sprays, and made into fentanyl pills.
Fentanyl is a synthetic (or lab-made) opioid that is commonly used for treating surgical pain. It is 50-100 times more potent than morphine, and it has substantial addictive properties. As opioid overdose deaths climb, fentanyl is believed to be a large part of the problem, particularly because it can be placed in drugs without people realizing it.