Fentanyl and heroin are two types of opioid drugs that cause substance use disorders in people of all ages. In recent years, the number of teens and young adults getting hooked on opioids has been increasing. Therefore, it is not uncommon to want to know if fentanyl more addictive than heroin, and if so, why?
What Is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is entirely man-made in a laboratory. Fentanyl was originally developed as a prescription medication to treat severe painful conditions or as a pain reliever following various surgical procedures.
However, the illicit production of fentanyl in recent years has increased as the ingredients to manufacture fentanyl illegally are easier to obtain than heroin. Fentanyl can be a powder or a liquid, depending on how it is made.
What Is Heroin?
A naturally made opiate, heroin comes from the poppy plant. The drug is first made into morphine. Then it is concentrated to increase its potency. Heroin can be a white powder, tar-like substance, or brown powder, depending on how it is made. The drug can be snorted, injected, or smoked.
How Are the Drugs Alike?
Both fentanyl and heroin are classified as opioids that affect the central nervous system and pain receptors. Both drugs will also cause an increase in the release of various neurotransmitters associated with pleasure, such as dopamine. In addition, one feels the effects of fentanyl relatively quickly. Furthermore, it only takes using the drugs a single time to develop a craving for them. In some cases, using the drug just once can be deadly.
How Are They Different?
For starters, fentanyl is an opioid, which means it is synthetic. Heroin, on the other hand, is an opiate. This means it comes from naturally occurring ingredients, namely the poppy plant. Although many people use the term opioids to refer to opioids and opiates.
Next, fentanyl is considered to be up to 100 times more potent than morphine and up to 50 times more powerful than heroin. As such, it only takes a tiny dose of fentanyl to achieve the same effects as with a larger amount of heroin.
Is Fentanyl More Addictive Than Heroin?
While both drugs can cause addiction, fentanyl is more addictive than heroin. The reason it is easier to get addicted to fentanyl has to do with its potency. The effects experienced after using it once can bring about a euphoric state.
One feels these effects much faster than heroin, and the high is significantly more intense. Sadly, the brain remembers the experience as a positive behavior and will start craving fentanyl. Additionally, many people that use fentanyl will want to use it again to achieve similar results. With just a few times, addiction occurs.
Another reason fentanyl is more addictive than heroin is that it is more readily available on the street than other opioids. In addition, fentanyl cuts other drugs to boost their potency. So even if one assumes they are using heroin, it may contain fentanyl.
Why Is Fentanyl So Dangerous?
Fentanyl is so dangerous because of its potency. When you are obtaining illicit drugs, you have no idea what you are consuming. Fentanyl mixes with heroin, cocaine, and Xanax to become tablets sold on the street. Furthermore, it just takes one-quarter of a milligram to overdose. According to CNN, to give you an idea of how little this is, you would need to cut a baby aspirin into 324 pieces before you reached one-quarter of a milligram.
In addition, the number of overdose deaths each year continues to increase, with the majority of those deaths in the past several years from a fentanyl overdose. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), overdose deaths exceeded 100,000 from April 2020 to April 2021, representing a 30% increase. Most importantly, as someone develops tolerance to fentanyl, they will need to take higher doses to achieve similar effects. Unfortunately, as they increase their dose, the risk of accidental overdose and death increases significantly.
Is Naloxone Effective for Fentanyl Overdoses?
Medical professionals use a drug called Naloxone to counteract the effects of less potent opioids. Usually, with a heroin overdose, it only takes a single dose of naloxone. However, with fentanyl, it can take multiple doses of naloxone to stop an overdose. As such, those around the person that overdosed could mistakenly tell paramedics they were using heroin or some other less potent opioid when they actually consumed fentanyl.
Get Fentanyl and Heroin Addiction Treatment in Murfreesboro, TN
At Tulip Hill in Murfreesboro, TN, we are here to help you when you want help with fentanyl or heroin addiction. Our medical detox and treatment center provides a supportive, caring, and safe environment to start your recovery journey. To start your treatment or for further questions, contact us today.