What Does Carfentanil Do To You?

Discover the dangers of carfentanil and its impact on your mind and body. Stay informed and protect yourself!

By Rosewood Recovery Team
July 10, 2024

Understanding Carfentanil

Carfentanil, a synthetic opioid, is a potent and dangerous drug that has gained attention due to its potency and risks. It is important to understand the characteristics and dangers associated with carfentanil use.

Potency and Usage

Carfentanil is an extremely potent synthetic opioid, estimated to be 100 times more potent than fentanyl and 10,000 times more potent than morphine [1]. Originally developed as a tranquilizing agent for elephants and other large mammals, it has found illicit use in recent years.

Despite its intended veterinary usage, carfentanil has made its way into the illicit drug market, often being found in counterfeit pills or mixed with other drugs such as heroin. People may unknowingly consume drugs contaminated with carfentanil, increasing the risk of overdose and other serious health consequences [2].

Risks and Dangers

The potency of carfentanil poses significant risks to individuals who use or come into contact with the drug. Its extreme strength makes it highly dangerous, even in small amounts. Carfentanil has been linked to a significant number of overdose deaths in various parts of the world.

Due to its potency, carfentanil can cause severe respiratory depression, leading to respiratory arrest and death. The lethal dose range for carfentanil in humans is unknown, but it is estimated to be approximately 100 times more potent than fentanyl, which itself can be lethal at the 2-milligram range [3].

The illicit use and presence of carfentanil in the drug supply pose serious public health concerns. Overdose statistics have shown a rise in carfentanil-related deaths, highlighting the urgent need for prevention and harm reduction strategies.

Understanding the potency and dangers associated with carfentanil is crucial for individuals, healthcare professionals, and law enforcement agencies to effectively address the challenges posed by this dangerous synthetic opioid.

Comparison with Fentanyl

Carfentanil and fentanyl are both potent synthetic opioids that have gained significant attention due to their high potency and associated risks. While they share similarities, there are also notable differences between these two substances.

Similarities and Differences

Carfentanil is an extremely potent synthetic opioid, approximately 100 times more potent than fentanyl and 10,000 times more potent than morphine. On the other hand, fentanyl is about 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.

Both carfentanil and fentanyl are used for medical purposes. Fentanyl is commonly prescribed to treat severe pain, particularly after surgery or for chronic pain in individuals who have developed tolerance to other opioids. Carfentanil, on the other hand, is primarily used as a tranquilizing agent for elephants and other large mammals.

When it comes to their illicit use, both carfentanil and fentanyl have become a significant concern due to their inclusion in the illegal drug supply. Carfentanil, in particular, has been linked to a significant number of overdose deaths in various parts of the world, including the United States and Canada. The potency of these substances poses a high risk to individuals, with even small amounts potentially causing severe respiratory depression and overdose.

Medical vs. Illicit Use

While fentanyl is primarily used in medical settings under careful supervision, carfentanil is not intended for human use. Carfentanil's extreme potency and potential for harm make it unsuitable for medical administration in humans. However, its presence in the illicit drug market has raised serious public health concerns.

The illicit use of both carfentanil and fentanyl has contributed to a rise in opioid-related overdoses. These substances are often mixed with other drugs, such as heroin, without the knowledge of the user, significantly increasing the risk of overdose.

Efforts are being made to address the illicit use of carfentanil and fentanyl through enhanced regulatory measures and enforcement. These measures aim to reduce the availability of these substances in the illegal drug market and prevent further harm to individuals struggling with substance abuse.

Understanding the similarities and differences between carfentanil and fentanyl is crucial in raising awareness about the risks associated with these potent opioids. It is important to seek help and support if you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction to these substances.

Effects on the Body

Carfentanil, a synthetic opioid that is significantly more potent than fentanyl and morphine, has profound effects on the body. Understanding these effects is crucial to comprehend the dangers associated with its use and potential overdose.

Physical Impact

Carfentanil exposure causes signs and symptoms similar to other opioid toxicity, and it can be fatal if appropriate treatment is not available. The lethal dose range for carfentanil in humans is unknown, but it is approximately 100 times more potent than fentanyl, which itself is 50 times more potent than heroin. Some potential physical effects of carfentanil include:

  • Respiratory depression or arrest
  • Drowsiness
  • Disorientation
  • Sedation
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Clammy skin

Immediate medical attention is necessary in case of carfentanil exposure, as overdose can quickly become life-threatening.

Psychological Impact

In addition to its physical effects, carfentanil can also have significant psychological impacts on individuals. Due to its potent nature, carfentanil can induce a state of euphoria and sedation. However, these effects are often short-lived and can quickly turn into a state of confusion, agitation, or even delirium. The psychological impact of carfentanil can vary from person to person and may be influenced by various factors such as the individual's tolerance, amount consumed, and overall mental health.

It's important to note that carfentanil is not intended for human use and has no legitimate medical purposes in this context. The risks associated with its use, whether intentional or unintentional, are substantial. Accidental exposure can occur through injection, absorption through mucous membranes, or direct absorption through damaged skin. Naltrexone is the antidote for carfentanil, which can effectively eliminate its effects.

Due to the potency and dangers associated with carfentanil, it is crucial to prioritize public health and safety. Awareness, prevention strategies, and access to appropriate treatment are essential in mitigating the risks posed by this hazardous substance.

Management and Treatment

When it comes to managing and treating carfentanil use and overdose, certain strategies and therapies can be employed to address the associated risks and dangers. Two important approaches in this context are the use of naloxone and other antidotes, as well as medication-assisted therapy.

Naloxone and Antidotes

Naloxone is a medication that can reverse the effects of carfentanil and other opioids by binding to opioid receptors and blocking the drug's impact on the body. It is an antidote for opioid overdose and is especially crucial in cases of carfentanil overdose due to the drug's potency [5].

In the event of a suspected carfentanil overdose, immediate medical attention is vital. Multiple doses of naloxone may be required due to the potency of carfentanil, and it should be administered every 2-3 minutes until the individual is breathing on their own for at least 15 minutes or until emergency medical services (EMS) arrives [3].

It's important to note that carfentanil and other fentanyl-related compounds pose a significant danger to public safety, including first responders, medical personnel, treatment providers, and laboratory staff. These substances can be absorbed through the skin or accidentally inhaled as airborne powder. Symptoms of exposure may include respiratory depression or arrest, drowsiness, disorientation, sedation, pinpoint pupils, and clammy skin.

Medication-Assisted Therapy

Medication-assisted therapy (MAT) is a treatment approach commonly used to address fentanyl addiction. It involves replacing the opioids that trigger temptation and withdrawal with other, less hazardous opioids. Naloxone, methadone, and buprenorphine are commonly used medications that interact with opioid receptors, producing less euphoria and fewer cravings when taken as prescribed.

The goal of medication-assisted therapy is to help individuals reduce the harmful effects of carfentanil use and support their journey towards recovery. These medications, when used correctly under medical supervision, can help manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms, enabling individuals to focus on other aspects of their treatment and rehabilitation.

It's important to acknowledge that the surge in illicit fentanyl, including carfentanil, presents a new challenge for families and medical professionals trying to prevent harm caused by opioid misuse. While medication-assisted therapies like naloxone, methadone, and buprenorphine have shown effectiveness in stemming overdoses caused by opioids, including fentanyl, their efficacy in combating carfentanil specifically is still uncertain.

By utilizing naloxone and other antidotes, as well as exploring medication-assisted therapy, individuals affected by carfentanil use and addiction can receive the necessary support and medical interventions to address the risks and challenges associated with this potent drug. It is crucial to seek professional help and guidance to ensure the safest and most effective management and treatment.

Public Health Concerns

Carfentanil, a synthetic opioid, poses significant public health concerns due to its high potency and the associated risks. Understanding the overdose statistics and implementing prevention strategies are crucial in addressing the impact of this dangerous substance.

Overdose Statistics

Fentanyl and its derivatives, including carfentanil, have become a major factor in the overdose crisis. Synthetic opioids accounted for one-third of all drug-related deaths in the United States in 2016, representing a 700 percent increase from five years prior for manufactured opioids. The sudden rise and fall of carfentanil availability played a role in the decline of overdose deaths in 2018. States with high carfentanil exhibits, such as Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Michigan, observed a reduction in overdose deaths, which accounted for a significant portion of the overall decline in the United States.

The surge in illicit fentanyl, including carfentanil, has presented a new challenge for families and medical professionals. Synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, are now the most common drugs involved in drug overdose deaths in the United States. The effectiveness of medication-assisted therapies in stemming overdoses caused by fentanyl remains uncertain, highlighting the urgency for comprehensive prevention and intervention strategies.

Prevention Strategies

To address the public health concerns associated with carfentanil, various prevention strategies are necessary. These strategies focus on both reducing the availability of carfentanil and providing education and support to individuals at risk.

  • Regulation and Enforcement: Regulatory measures play a crucial role in controlling the availability of carfentanil. The regulation of carfentanil and other fentanyl analogs in China, for example, correlated with a decrease in carfentanil-related deaths in certain areas of the United States. Strong enforcement efforts are necessary to deter the production, trafficking, and distribution of carfentanil.
  • Education and Awareness: Public education campaigns can raise awareness about the dangers of carfentanil use and its potential presence in illicit drugs. This includes providing information about the signs of overdose and the importance of seeking help for substance use disorders.
  • Harm Reduction Strategies: Harm reduction approaches, such as naloxone distribution programs, are crucial in preventing overdose deaths. Naloxone, an antidote that can reverse opioid overdoses, should be readily available to individuals at risk and their loved ones.
  • Access to Treatment: Expanding access to evidence-based treatment options, such as medication-assisted therapy (MAT), is essential in addressing opioid addiction. MAT combines medications like methadone and buprenorphine with counseling and behavioral therapies to help individuals manage their substance use disorder.

By implementing comprehensive prevention strategies that encompass regulatory measures, education, harm reduction, and access to treatment, it is possible to mitigate the public health concerns associated with carfentanil and other synthetic opioids. A multifaceted approach is necessary to address the complex nature of the overdose crisis and protect individuals from the devastating consequences of carfentanil use.

Regulatory Measures

When it comes to carfentanil, regulatory measures play a crucial role in addressing the risks and dangers associated with this potent substance. Let's explore the legal status of carfentanil and the enforcement efforts in place to mitigate its impact.

Legal Status

Carfentanil is classified as a Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substances Act. This classification indicates that it is recognized as having a high potential for abuse, with severe psychological or physical dependence liability. The inclusion of carfentanil in this schedule reflects the need for strict regulation and control of its distribution, possession, and use.

By placing carfentanil under Schedule II, legal and law enforcement measures are enacted to prevent its misuse and unauthorized access. These measures aim to protect public health and safety by regulating the production, distribution, and possession of carfentanil.

Enforcement Efforts

Enforcement efforts surrounding carfentanil focus on preventing its illicit production, distribution, and use. Law enforcement agencies work diligently to identify and dismantle illegal operations involved in the trafficking of carfentanil and other dangerous substances.

Since carfentanil and other fentanyl-related compounds pose significant risks to public safety, first responders, medical personnel, and laboratory staff, law enforcement agencies prioritize measures to minimize exposure and ensure their safety. These efforts include providing appropriate training, personal protective equipment, and guidelines for handling carfentanil and responding to related incidents.

Moreover, regulatory efforts extend beyond national borders. For instance, China added carfentanil to its list of controlled substances in 2017, resulting in a significant decrease in carfentanil exhibits in certain areas of the United States. This demonstrates the importance of international collaboration and regulatory actions in controlling the availability and impact of carfentanil.

The combined efforts of law enforcement agencies, regulatory bodies, and international collaboration are essential in reducing the risks associated with carfentanil. By enforcing strict regulations and implementing effective measures, authorities strive to protect individuals and communities from the dangers posed by this potent substance.

Related Articles

Recovery Begins Here

Click below to get in touch and schedule a consult call with our team to begin your journey towards happiness and freedom.

Rosewood Recovery does not discrimate against any person because of the race, color, religious creed, ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, handicap or disability or the use of a guide or support animal because of the blindness, deafness or physical handicap.