What Does Fentanyl Taste Like?
Getting a Loved One Help for Synthetic Opioids
Fentanyl addiction is quite common because the drug lends itself to overuse. Much like morphine and other prescription opioids, fentanyl is a powerful pain reliever. In fact, it is about 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, which makes fentanyl abuse more understandable to treat severe pain whether emotional or physical.
The question is: what does fentanyl taste like and why is it so appealing to many people?
Icarus Behavioral Health in Nevada has a deep understanding of what fentanyl addiction looks like and how to treat it. If you or a loved one need help battling substance abuse, our addiction treatment program offers the level of support you need from detox to inpatient drug rehab.
What Does Fentanyl Taste Like?
How can you tell if your drugs contain illicit fentanyl? Many people claim that they can tell simply by the taste of the drug on their tongue. Fentanyl is often touted as sweet compared to other drugs, but this might be more of a sign that it is laced with something else instead.
In fact, the fentanyl taste should be completely tasteless and odorless. Whether you are taking a form of powdered fentanyl or illicitly manufactured fentanyl, you likely will not be able to tell the difference between other drugs that have been laced with fentanyl.
Powdered fentanyl is often mixed with other illicit drugs like cocaine and heroin where it is harder or even impossible to detect by the naked eye.
Of course, this leads to a serious problem: how do you know if you’re getting counterfeit pills or if a different drug is laced with fentanyl? If this is the case, you could easily overdose because you will not know whether it contains an extra lethal dose of synthetic opioids.
You might get high from the drug, but the combination of drugs in your system can spell disaster.
The Taste Difference Between Fentanyl and Fentanyl Citrate
The two different forms of synthetic fentanyl are also worth discussing. The Drug Enforcement Administration acknowledges that pharmaceutical fentanyl is used in a clinical setting.
Prescribed fentanyl can be administered by a medical professional in the form of fentanyl patches, injections, or lozenges.
When used properly, it functions as a great pain reliever that is even more effective for cancer pain than the ubiquitous morphine.
Telltale Differences in Chemical Composition
On the other hand, you might also encounter fentanyl citrate, which is a combination of the drug and citric acid. This form of the synthetic opioid is more easily dissolved in water and thus makes it much more convenient for use intravenously.
Some people who use illicit drugs prefer this method, but it is often used in a clinical setting as well.
When you administer fentanyl citrate intravenously, you might notice that it has a slight taste to it. Unlike the “sweet” flavor that many people detect in pure fentanyl, this salt leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.
Why is Fentanyl Mixed with Other Drugs like Prescription Opioids?
Many people do not even realize that they are bordering on fentanyl abuse. After all, they are taking other drugs such as cocaine, heroin, or other prescription opioids. The problem is that delivering these substances in their purest form can be costly for drug dealers. They are always on the lookout for a better way to improve profit margins.
As a result, many people will lace expensive drugs with a bit of odorless and colorless fentanyl to stretch their supply a little further.
Of course, those who are actually abusing fentanyl tend to love the high they achieve from these mixed drug reactions. The high tends to be much stronger than the pure form of a different drug would be on its own. It keeps them coming back for more, which lines the pockets of drug dealers and leads to more drug overdose deaths.
Most of the time, people won’t even know that they are taking this illicitly manufactured fentanyl, so they can’t be cautious about their dosage.
How Does Fentanyl Lead to Overdose Deaths?
Because fentanyl is so easily taken, drug overdose deaths on synthetic opioids like fentanyl are markedly on the rise. Over the past few years, most drug overdose deaths have been caused by synthetic opioids. Of those included in this category, fentanyl is the primary culprit behind the sharp increase in overdose deaths for this category.
Deaths caused by prescription opioids are somewhat lower, trumped by these synthetic counterparts, cocaine, and psychostimulants like methamphetamine affect the way that the brain processes automatic functions like breathing. When taken in a dose that is too high, it can lead to weak or labored breathing. It may even result in no breathing at all.
The problem is that fentanyl is often mixed with other drugs which can worsen the side effects and potentially make it that much more dangerous.
Harm Reduction and Preventing Death from Fentanyl Addiction
With the death toll on the rise with both pharmaceutical fentanyl and street fentanyl, you need to know what you can to keep a loved one safe.
Fortunately, you can prevent a deadly fentanyl overdose if you know the signs to watch out for and can be proactive in preparing.
Here are a few ways that you may want to prepare if you believe that a loved one will abuse fentanyl (or any type of synthetic opioid).
Fentanyl Test Strips
This is where fentanyl test strips can be quite useful. If you are given drugs outside of a pharmacy or doctor’s office, you should always check them for the presence of fentanyl to be on the safe side. These strips are relatively inexpensive and could save your life or the life of a loved one.
They are simple to use and can quickly detect fentanyl in any substance. All you have to do is mix a very small amount of the drug onto the strip with the testing solution. The color of the strip changes to indicate if there is fentanyl present in the drug.
If the fentanyl test strip detects this synthetic opioid, you can discard them through the proper channels such as turning them into a pharmacy or via law enforcement, or at the very least be sure to have overdose prevention supplies on hand if you proceed to administer the drug.
When you believe that you might be addicted to fentanyl or want a loved one to get clean before going too far, a medical detox could be the right move. Both illicit and pharmaceutical fentanyl withdrawal are extremely dangerous and symptoms can include severe pain with aches and muscle pain.
Other typical fentanyl withdrawal symptoms include:
- Sweating or chills
- High blood pressure or rapid heart rate
- Nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting
Anyone who has been taking illicit drugs will struggle with some set of symptoms as the drug works its way out of their system.
This is why substance abuse is best treated with medical detox where a team of medical professionals can keep you comfortable and safe, without the risk of returning to drug abuse when the symptoms ramp up several days into treatment.
Another key way that you can prevent death from an opioid overdose is via naloxone. This is a life-saving medication that can reduce the impact of opioid overdoses.
It is safe for anyone to administer and it starts taking effect immediately while you wait for emergency medical services to arrive.
The naloxone nasal sprays are available over-the-counter for anyone to purchase. When you or a loved one battles fentanyl addiction, you should always have a few doses of naloxone on hand.
What are the Most Common Fentanyl Overdose Signs?
If you or a loved one has been abusing fentanyl or taking another illicit drug that could be laced with fentanyl, it is crucial to know the signs of an overdose before it leads to death.
Drug abuse is serious and you can only treat it with naloxone spray if you know what to look for in an overdose.
Look for These Signs and Administer Narcan Immediately
Here are some of the signs that you or a loved one might have taken illegal fentanyl in too high a dose:
- Difficulty breathing, including weak breath or halted breathing
- Loss of color in the lips and fingernails or gray and blue tints
- Constricted pupils
- Skin that feels colder or clammier than usual
- Loss of consciousness or an inability to remain awake
- Chest pain
- Seizures, confusion, or disorientation
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slowed heart rate
Fentanyl abusers and their loved ones should know all of the signs of an overdose. This is the only way to identify fentanyl so that it can be effectively treated without disastrous consequences. If you notice any of these crucial signs, you need to contact 911 immediately and administer naloxone. If an initial dose of naloxone does not suffice, Narcan can be administered again.
What is the Treatment for Fentanyl Abuse?
After you go through the fentanyl detox process, you are not necessarily ready to return to your daily life without the chains of substance abuse. You will need a greater degree of support to quit taking fentanyl illegally and to prevent you from turning to other street drugs to fill the void created.
Even prescription drugs can be abused in fentanyl’s absence, so you must be careful. There are a few levels of treatment you might consider.
Inpatient Drug Rehab as the Gold Standard
Inpatient treatment is typically the gold standard of care for addiction, substance use, and substance abuse issues. This type of treatment allows you to live safely within the walls of a facility with access to round-the-clock care for any co-occurring mental health disorders or physical discomfort you may have.
While in treatment at Icarus Behavioral Health in Nevada, you will have one-on-one sessions with a trained substance abuse counselor as well as group sessions. You will have the support of both a team of medical professionals and a cohort of your peers.
This peer support allows you to see other people making good progress on their goals to live sober and offers you new perspectives, insight, and coping skills for your own issues.
Partial Hospitalization or Intensive Outpatient
After graduating from inpatient rehab, you likely still need support for your substance use. It is unlikely that 30 to 90 days in a facility will have cured you of all cravings and triggers that could send you spiraling back into fentanyl opioid use disorder. Instead, you can segue into a partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient program.
The programs allow you to attend sessions during the day at varying degrees of intensity. Partial hospitalization lasts longer during the day than intensive outpatient, but both are solid options for those who are moving away from their substance use. You get the support of a counselor, psychiatrist, and group based on your unique needs.
In the evenings, you can return to your family and your own bed. This gives you the freedom to practice what you are learning in rehab.
Get Help for Fentanyl at Icarus in Nevada Today
Are you ready to embrace life without fentanyl and other opioids? We can help you manage the growing opioid epidemic and lead you away from drug and opioid misuse before it has disastrous or irreparable consequences like an overdose.
Icarus Behavioral Health offers every level of treatment you might need ranging from detox to inpatient to intensive outpatient. We can help you with opioid abuse, giving you round-the-clock care that will treat chronic pain and make you more comfortable both mentally and physically. You have no risk of substance abuse while under our care in detox or inpatient.
Allow our warm and welcoming Admissions and insurance verification staff to show you what is covered and work up an estimate for your stay with us. Reach out to us for a confidential call today and get details on support options for recovery from fentanyl now!