The deadly opioid crisis is still at large throughout the United States, with attention towards a counterpart to fentanyl leaving treatment experts asking what is acetyl fentanyl. Fentanyl and its counterparts are highly addictive and are responsible for many overdoses and deaths from overdose. Analogs are the counterparts of fentanyl. Therefore, it is essential for people to get information to identify all the aspects of fentanyl and its analogs.
The CDC’s Health Alert Network began researching acetyl fentanyl around 2012 because of a rise in fatalities. The death and overdose rates are alarming, climbing from 700 deaths between 2013 and 2014 to epidemic numbers. As such, it is a growing concern and a public safety threat. However, people who manufacture this drug do it in illegal labs, thus making it difficult to control. There is no control over the added ingredients sold mainly on the streets and the Internet.
Understanding Acetyl Fentanyl
Acetyl fentanyl is a synthetic opioid just like the base drug, fentanyl. Opioids bind to the receptors in the brain to induce an intense high. Fentanyl is a Schedule II drug, and acetyl fentanyl is responsible for a significant role in the high death rate in the opioid crisis. Therefore, testers must perform additional testing to determine the use of acetyl fentanyl over fentanyl. GC/MS, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry differentiates this drug. Without it, they cannot identify acetyl fentanyl.
There are differences in acetyl fentanyl’s effect when compared to fentanyl. Chemists have described it as being fifty to one hundred times more potent than morphine. It is slightly weaker than fentanyl, but several times more potent than pure heroin. Someone can use it orally, intravenously, intramuscularly, and through insufflation. In addition, illegal labs producing drugs add acetyl fentanyl with other drugs to increase potency and intensity.
Acetyl fentanyl is an opioid receptor agonist someone can substitute for heroin or other opioids to produce the intensely desired high. Some refer to acetyl fentanyl as non-pharmaceutical fentanyl. The chemical is available in tablets, in powder form, and spiked on blotter papers. Lastly, the drug goes by different names on the street.
The following are labels for acetyl fentanyl:
- China White
- China girl
- Dance fever
- Murder 8
- Tango and cash
Is Acetyl Fentanyl Approved for Medical Use?
The FDA has never approved acetyl fentanyl for medical use in the United States. In addition, no published studies state it has been safe for medical use for humans. So what is acetyl fentanyl’s attraction to drug makers and users? Initially, acetyl fentanyl had a different drug classification as a Schedule I drug, producing the same general effects. Instead, illegal drug makers seized the opportunity to make it a new effective designer drug.
Short and Long-Term Effects of Acetyl Fentanyl
What is acetyl fentanyl’s downfall is, like fentanyl, it affects the brain, cognitive ability, and behavioral functions. As a result, it affects mood, euphoria, and drowsiness while depressing respiratory functions. All in all, as with tolerance and dependence, it takes more of this drug to produce short and long-term adverse effects.
The following signs and symptoms from acetyl fentanyl use are common.
- Constipation and digestive issues
- Difficulties breathing that can result in apnea, bradycardia, and hypotension
- Drowsiness and lethargy can lead to coma
- Suppression of cough reflex
- Pupil constriction
- Severe sedation
- Unconsciousness and death, usually from respiratory arrest
Unfortunately, illicit drug use is the primary purpose of acetyl fentanyl. Users may believe they are purchasing fentanyl, but because acetyl fentanyl looks the same with a lesser effect, they may use more. Tolerance and dependency could occur when users believe they are ingesting fentanyl or heroin, but the user cannot reach the desired high, so they increase usage. Last but not least, the drug can be sold as oxycontin as well.
Can Acetyl Fentanyl Addiction Lead to Overdose?
Dopamine production in the brain, responsible for the euphoric effect of fentanyl and acetyl fentanyl use, is the strong director to repeat that behavior. Highly addictive substances are dangerous because once tolerance and dependence are established, there is a high risk of addiction and overdose. The brain cannot absorb the excess dopamine because opioids block absorption. Acetyl fentanyl’s addictive properties can be deadly in the long run.
Other central nervous system depressants used with acetyl fentanyl can be dangerous. For example, the drug used with alcohol has harmful levels of intensity. In addition, this drug, combined with benzos, causes respiratory depression. The same drug used with stimulants creates rapid respiratory depression. Someone experiencing severe respiratory issues could indicate overdose may occur, and they need immediate medical help.
Naloxone for Respiratory Depression from Acetyl Fentanyl
Naloxone or Narcan has been proven effective in preventing overdose from opioids like fentanyl and acetyl fentanyl. Binding to and blocking opioid receptors from causing overdose and death. Lung and heart depression can be halted when administered. First responders are equipped with Naloxone or Narcan to save as many lives as possible. Government agencies are disbursing huge quantities of Naloxone to address the opioid crisis.
Treatment for Acetyl Fentanyl Addiction
What is its addiction treatment process? Detoxing from fentanyl, acetyl fentanyl, and all opioid medications is challenging but successful in most cases. In fact, treatment specialists can manage withdrawal symptoms with a medically-monitored detox. Immediate therapy can prevent relapse and teach positive coping mechanisms. Cognitive behavioral therapy and group therapies are proven to be successful and can lead to a sober lifestyle.
Become Free of Addiction in Tennessee
Find help for acetyl fentanyl addiction near Tennessee with Tennessee Valley Recovery’s proven addiction treatment. Using proven techniques for detox and therapy, our expert treatment teams can lead those addicted to this dangerous opioid into sobriety and a long-term sober lifestyle. Our staff includes understanding and compassionate specialists who can guide newly sober patients through those difficult first weeks.
Let us answer your questions and suggest an assessment. Contact us today.