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Meth Fentanyl Most Lethal

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In 2017 in the U.S., 70,237 deaths from drug overdose were recorded.

This is a 10.4% increase from 63,632 drug overdose deaths in 2016.

The most common drugs that were linked to these overdose deaths were methamphetamine and fentanyl.

Although both drugs were used in all parts of the U.S., meth and fentanyl were prominent in different regions.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), much higher rates of meth overdose deaths were recorded in the Western U.S., while higher rates of fentanyl-related overdose deaths were prominent in the Northeast U.S.

This may be attributed to the availability and the manufacturing and production of these drugs in those specific areas.

Both these drugs can be lethal on their own.

However, many people are using meth and fentanyl in combination to achieve a different kind of “high”.

This is highly dangerous and can result in many serious physical and psychological complications, including heart attack, stroke, seizure, psychosis, and death.

As of 2020, meth and fentanyl appear to be the leading causes of overdose deaths in the U.S., next to prescription opioids.

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What is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine, also known as crystal meth or meth, is a drug belonging to the stimulant class. Colloquial street names for methamphetamine include ice, speed, crystal, and Tina.

It is deemed a Schedule II drug by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Meth, like all stimulants, affects the central nervous and produces effects of increased energy and motivation, powerful euphoria, increased focus and attention, increased libido, decreased appetite, and increased confidence.

Crystal meth has the physical property of glass-like fragments that can vary in color from blue to white tints. The drug can be administered orally, smoked, insufflated, or taken intravenously.

Long-term effects of meth include:

  • Dependency/Addiction
  • Weight Loss
  • Major dental health problems, which is known colloquially as “meth mouth”
  • Severe itching, which leads to skin sores
  • Development of other mental health conditions including major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, many anxiety disorders, and psychosis
  • Visual and auditory hallucinations
  • Brain damage
  • Insomnia
  • Major behavioral changes such as violence and aggression
  • Paranoia
  • Memory loss
  • Heart problems
  • Death

The effects of meth are typically felt immediately, if not in the span of a few seconds. Meth is highly addictive and can easily lead to a deadly overdose.

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How Meth Works in the Brain

Methamphetamine has a similar mechanism of action in the brain as other stimulants. When the user consumes meth, many neurotransmitters, specifically, norepinephrine, dopamine, and even serotonin are released and activates the central nervous system and cardiovascular system. If you or someone you know is struggling with methamphetamine addiction, consider seeking help at our alcohol rehab near Los Angeles.

These neurotransmitters are known as extracellular monoamine neurotransmitters, which meth elevates their level by inducing their release from the nerve endings. This results in the effects of meth instantaneously manifesting upon use.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, which it is derived from. The DEA has deemed fentanyl a Schedule II drug.

Fentanyl produces intense effects of pain relief, euphoria, relaxation, drowsiness, and sedation. Unpleasant side effects include nausea, vomiting, breathing problems, loss of consciousness, and confusion. Fentanyl is prescribed by physicians after major surgery or for severe chronic pain. It is highly addictive and extremely easy to overdose. For more information, you can visit alcohol rehab near Palo Alto.

The drug is typically administered orally through a pill or absorbed into the skin via a patch. The effects of fentanyl can be felt immediately.

Long-term effects of fentanyl include dependency/addiction, multiple organ failure, development of mental health conditions such as major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, many anxiety disorders, and psychosis.

How Fentanyl Works in the Brain

Opioids are highly addictive; the reason for this is because of the way opioids work in the brain, and also how it eventually alters brain chemistry, resulting in brain damage.

During the early stages of opioid abuse, the compulsion to consume the drug increases due to tolerance and physical and psychological dependence. When opioids are consumed, it enters the bloodstream and reaches the brain.

It then binds to the specialized proteins mu-opioid receptors, which are located on the surfaces of brain cells sensitive and susceptible to opioids. When these chemicals are linked, stimulation of the biochemical brain activity occurs, which produces feelings of intense pleasure and euphoria, as well as reduces pain.

Opioids also release the neurotransmitter dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, a part of the brain that dictates the user’s desire to keep ingesting the drug, to maintain pleasure, and to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Prolonged use of opioids on its own will result in brain damage.

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Why Fentanyl is Lethal

Meth and Fentanyl are dangerous drugs, whether taken separately and especially at a much higher risk when taken simultaneously. Often, fentanyl is used as a cutting agent in many street drugs such as cocaine, meth, ecstasy/molly, and heroin on the black market. This is done by drug manufacturers because it is cheaper to produce, and they can distribute more of the expensive product while saving costs.

An individual that purchases a street drug is typically unaware that the drug they purchased also contains fentanyl as a cutting agent. This makes the drug much more potent and dangerous. It is the common cause of accidental overdose. In 2017, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency discovered over 8,600 fentanyl-laced products in only one month.

This is indicative of the prevalence of fentanyl being used as a cutting agent in black market drugs. In the same year, fentanyl contributed to 28,400 deaths.

Another factor contributing to the many deaths from fentanyl overdoses is the user underestimating the strength of the dosage he or she took. Fentanyl overdose is treated by the drug Naloxone. Multiple doses of Naloxone may be required depending on the amount of fentanyl the user consumed.

Why Methamphetamine is Lethal

In 2018, methamphetamine was the primary stimulant drug that contributed to 14,666 overdose deaths. This is a major increase from 2015, where meth was linked to 12,676 deaths.

There are many reasons why meth has become more popular and resulted in more overdose deaths in the past few years. U.S. health officials postulate that the rise of methamphetamine comes from the high production rate in Mexico and the West Coast, thus making the drug more accessible to the general population.

Meth is a particularly difficult drug to attempt to withdraw from. The withdrawal symptoms are so severe that people often continue using the drug in order to avoid the unpleasant symptoms.

However, by doing this, meth dependency will likely result in death due to its insidious nature.

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