There is an epidemic of drug overdose deaths in the United States. More than 100,000 Americans died of overdoses just between May of 2020 and April of 2021. An astonishing 64% of those deaths are attributed to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl–a drug that is manufactured in illicit international labs and often sold on the dark web to domestic dealers. From there, the deadly substance is cut into heroin, cocaine, and even popular prescription pills before unsuspecting customers purchase it.
South Beach Detox is a dual diagnosis center offering inpatient medical detoxification in addition to providing comprehensive, compassionate addiction and mental health treatment programs. We know that the only way to keep from falling victim to a lethal dose of fentanyl is not only to get sober, but to maintain that sobriety. And so before we take a closer look at where fentanyl comes from, what it’s made of, and how street fentanyl is fueling America’s overdose epidemic, let’s first touch on just a few tips on how to help maintain your sobriety:
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that was first developed as a sedative for surgical procedures or to deliver immediate pain relief in acute care settings. It is often used in end-of-life care. Even in these controlled settings, however, medical professionals must stay mindful of the dangers posed by the drug’s extreme potency. Fentanyl is roughly 50 times more potent than heroin, and 100 times more powerful than morphine. It’s this potency that makes fentanyl so deadly when taken—often unknowingly—in non-medical settings.
The quick answer to the question: where does fentanyl come from? is that the lethal drug is synthesized outside the country, most notably in clandestine labs run by drug cartels or in state-subsidized Chinese factories. From there, the highly potent powder is sometimes smuggled in bulk across the U.S.-Mexico border, although much more frequently the fentanyl is being anonymously purchased on the dark web and simply shipped through the standard mail—hundreds of doses of street fentanyl can fit inside a single envelope.
Unscrupulous dealers then cut the cheaply acquired synthetic opioid with other illicit drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine in an attempt to boost potency and profits, greatly endangering anyone who might later ingest the drugs. It only takes about two milligrams of fentanyl—a miniscule amount—to be lethal, and unlike less powerful opioids, fentanyl overdoses happen in mere minutes, not over the course of hours.
Perhaps the most frightening aspect of the fentanyl epidemic is that vendors are selling counterfeit pills that are cut with fentanyl and made to look like popular pharmaceuticals such as Vicodin, Xanax and Adderall. One analysis found that 42% of illicitly-produced pills contained a potentially fatal dose of fentanyl. In most instances, the person purchasing these pills over the dark web or on social media has no idea that the pills they’re purchasing are fake and might contain fentanyl.
Now that we’ve laid out where fentanyl comes from and who makes itl—and more critically, what makes street fentanyl purchased on the dark web so dangerous—we need to recognize how important treatment is in the process of maintaining sobriety. Recovery is a daunting task, and without a strong support system and the help of caring professionals, it can feel impossible.
Here at South Beach Detox, we are more than a detoxification center—our talented team is able to guide you every step of the way. With comprehensive and specifically tailored recovery programs designed with the particular needs and goals of every individual in mind, we are committed not only to helping you get clean, but ensuring that you don’t become “just another statistic” in the ongoing fentanyl epidemic.
If you’re struggling with addiction, visit our website to learn more about why South Beach Detox is one of the most trusted drug treatment facilities in Florida.