Fentanyl In Cocaine

This isn’t your first time using cocaine, but this time it feels different. You didn’t take any more or less than usual, and you didn’t have anything in your system that you knew of, so why did you feel this way?

If you’ve ever experienced this, or you know someone who has, then you might have encountered some cocaine that was laced with something else. Most commonly, substances like cocaine might be laced with fentanyl. But why? And what’s the concern with fentanyl in cocaine?

Here in Arizona, more than five people die each day from opioids. Our goal here at Pinnacle Peak Recovery is to explain why so that more people can be aware and potentially save lives. With masters-level physicians on our staff, we do our best to offer free, educational information to our community. Many of these opioid deaths stem from fentanyl use, especially from situations similar to the one just talked about. So let’s look further into what fentanyl is and why it’s being laced into cocaine.

The Growing Concern Caused By Fentanyl-Laced Cocaine

So why is fentanyl-laced cocaine a concern? Is fentanyl in other substances contributing to the higher opioid overdose numbers?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than morphine. It’s commonly used for surgeries as an anesthetic. It’s also used to help people in severe pain management cases such as cancer patients going through treatment.

When a substance is “laced” with something, it’s rarely divulged to the person who decided to partake in it. Because of fentanyl’s potency, this lack of information can lead to people taking their normal dosage without knowing how strongly the fentanyl will impact their experience and well-being.

Why Fentanyl Is Mixed With Cocaine?

If fentanyl is so potent, why is it mixed with other substances like cocaine?

Because fentanyl is synthetic, it’s rather affordable for drug dealers to either make or get ahold of. They can then lace other products they’re selling with the fentanyl to save them money while enhancing the experience the user has.

So, fentanyl is usually mixed with other substances to turn a higher profit for the dealer.

fentanyl In cocaine addiction treatment in scottsdale az

How To Detect Fentanyl in Cocaine 

Unfortunately, fentanyl commonly comes in a white powder form, so when it’s mixed into substances like cocaine, it can be near impossible to tell.

Fortunately, there are ways to test it out without having to ingest the substance.

Fentanyl testing strips are legal in most states, and Arizona is no exception. There are many places throughout the state that offer them for free. Fentanyl testing strips, as the name implies, test for the presence of fentanyl.  Don’t be afraid to have a few of these on hand and to use them liberally. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.  

How Widespread Is Fentanyl-Laced Cocaine?

Fentanyl-related overdoses are on the rise. From 2020 to 2021 the percentage of non-fatal overdoses in Arizona relating to fentanyl jumped from 31% to nearly 40%. It is the most common opioid involved in opioid overdoses.

While cocaine isn’t the most common secondary drug involved in these overdoses, it is on the rise. Its involvement increased from 2% to 3% from 2020 to 2021. Currently, the most common secondary substance involved in these opioid overdoses is meth at over 16%. 

Overdose Risks For Fentanyl-Contaminated Cocaine

As we’ve touched on already, the risk from fentanyl comes from its potency. When someone who doesn’t know their substance is laced with fentanyl takes their normal dosage, they run the risk of an overdose for a few reasons.

The primary risk associated with fentanyl use is simply having too much of the substance in the system. The body can only process so much at once before the remnants start to essentially “spill out” into other parts of the body. This is where the risk of overdosing comes from.

The other risk, however, comes from polysubstance use. Polysubstance use is when you partake in more than one kind of substance before the first has fully passed through your system. This can happen intentionally or unintentionally, but both are still classified as polysubstance use. Having more than one type of substance in your system at once, like cocaine and fentanyl, also increases your risk of overdose because of your body’s limits on how much it can process at a given time.

Naloxone’s Role in Fentanyl-Cocaine Overdoses

Naloxone is a very important medication in the world of substance use as it can help save a life. It comes in nasal spray or injection form and it’s used to help assist those experiencing an opioid overdose. It works by getting into the system and blocking the effects of opioids. It’s important to note that even after naloxone, a person should still receive medical help for their cocaine overdose

There are many places throughout the state of Arizona that distribute naloxone for free. You can find a distribution place near you and learn more about naloxone here. 

fentanyl In cocaine addiction treatment at pinnacle peak recovery

Getting Treatment for Cocaine or Fentanyl Use in Arizona 

Taking the steps towards recovery, from either cocaine use or fentanyl use, can often be the hardest part. Luckily, no matter your history with substance use, your reasons for seeking help, or anything else — recovery is always an option.

For those seeking recovery from fentanyl use, detoxing is an important step in the process. Some of the side effects of withdrawing from opioids can be difficult to manage on your own, so going to a proper detox center where medical staff can assist you will help make the process that much easier on you.

The primary portion of the recovery process starts after detox, which is where many patients seeking recovery from cocaine use will begin — inpatient and outpatient treatment. This part of the program helps teach you the skills you need to manage your triggers and build a strong foundation for recovery. Inpatient involves you staying on-site in order to help you focus solely on recovery. From there, many patients move to outpatient, which provides continued support while they adjust to being outside of a recovery facility. This can be helpful as going back home can involve facing different triggers for substance use. The outpatient team and treatment provide you with a support system so you don’t have to face these new obstacles alone.

Our team here at Pinnacle Peak always wants to help our community reach their healing goals. We know everyone is unique, which is why we offer multiple evidence-based treatment options so you can find what works best for you. This includes additional services beyond inpatient and outpatient such as family therapy. If you’d like to get started on your recovery journey, don’t hesitate to reach out at (866) 377-4761.

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FAQs About Fentanyl-Laced Cocaine

Is it possible to determine if Fentanyl has been laced with cocaine?

Very rarely is fentanyl laced with something else, more often something else is laced with fentanyl. This is due to the fact that fentanyl is already very cheap to produce and sell, so mixing it with other products like cocaine, which aren’t as cheap to produce, actually makes the person selling it lose profit. However, because fentanyl and cocaine powder look so similar, you couldn’t tell if cocaine was within your fentanyl. If you want to check if fentanyl is in your cocaine, you can use a fentanyl testing strip to find out. 

Why Is Fentanyl So Dangerous to Mix?

When laced into other substances, fentanyl can be dangerous as people often don’t know it’s there. Because of this, they could take their normal dosage and unintentionally get too much in their system due to fentanyl’s potency. 

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