Harm Reduction to Prevent Fentanyl Overdose
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin. Fentanyl is a more condensed, more potent opioid, which means that consuming the same amount of heroin and fentanyl may have different impacts on the body based on an individual’s tolerance. Fentanyl is utilized because it is cheap to manufacture, and because a small amount goes a long way. Many individuals consume fentanyl without their knowledge (because they do not realize that it is in a product they’re using), while others are intentionally using fentanyl because of its potency. It is partly responsible for the current overdose crisis in the U.S., combined with a lack of resources and the criminalization of people who use drugs.
Starting in 2012, there has been a spike in the number of overdose deaths related to synthetic opioids. Overdose deaths involving fentanyl have quadrupled in recent years. Because of the War on Drugs and criminalization of people who use drugs, people often are unaware of the exact composition of the substances they’re using. This means that if someone (takes/consumes/uses??) an amount of a (substance/drug?) that their body is able to tolerate, it may actually be much stronger than they expect and account for. This makes evidence-based harm reduction strategies such as fentanyl test strips, safety planning, and access to safe supply are more vital than ever.
Fast Facts About Fentanyl
Fentanyl and fentanyl analogues (some stronger than fentanyl, some weaker) are not “naloxone resistant.” They are opioids and will respond to naloxone if someone is overdosing. When it appears that someone overdosing is not responding to naloxone it may be because:
(information from https://harmreduction.org/issues/fentanyl/fentanyl-use-overdose-prevention-tips/)
Resources for requesting and using test strips:
Fentanyl Kills. If you're going to use, Test It.
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