Safe Coalition’s newest documentary, “Fentanyl Factor”, is intended to educate the community about the role of Fentanyl in the Opioid Crisis.
“Fentanyl Factor” includes interviews from local residents and law enforcement effected by the opioid epidemic. Also features interview with a Forensic Scientist inside the lab where real and counterfeit drugs are tested.
This film highlights the alarming increase of accidental overdose deaths due to the mixing of fentanyl with other substances such as heroin, cocaine, and counterfeit prescription pills.
Facts About Opioids
Opioids are a class of drug that includes prescription painkillers and heroin.
Prescription opioids are some of the most commonly prescribed drugs. They help ease short-term pain after surgery, accident, or illness.
Heroin is also an opioid. Heroin is illegal. A doctor will never prescribe heroin.
Misuse of opioids is a leading cause of accidental death in the United States.
- Is the prescribed medication an opioid?
– Ask why your doctor recommends that medication.
- What are the risks of using opioids?
– The most serious risks are addiction and overdose, but there are other side effects. Ask your doctor to explain the risks of opioid use.
- Are there other ways to manage pain?
– Ask about alternatives like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, or any physical or behavioral therapies to try.
- Are opioids safe to take with my other medications?
– Many drugs, including alcohol, interact badly with opioids. Some combinations can be deadly.
- How long should I take this prescription?
– Not everyone becomes addicted to opioids, but people at risk may show signs of dependency within a few days.
- At what level of pain should I take this prescription?
– A doctor can help you determine when you should use an opioid or something milder.
- What can I do to avoid side effects from opioids?
– Ask your doctor to give you clear directions on how to use the medication. Do not increase dosage unless approved by your doctor.
– If you are still in pain, of having troubling side-effects such as nausea, constipation, dizziness or signs of dependence, talk with your doctor.
- What are signs that I may be getting addicted?
Ask your doctor to explain signs of addiction. If addiction or dependence becomes a problem, you will likely need help to stop. Talk to your doctor about addiction treatment options.
- Should I have naloxone on hand?
– Ask your doctor about naloxone – a drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Friends, family, or other bystanders could save your life if you accidentally overdose.
- What should I do with opioid medication that I don’t use?
Ask your doctor to explain how to safeguard medications.
Ask about how to safely dispose of expired, unused, or unwanted medication. Find a Safe Medication Disposal Location here
If you or someone you know has an addiction to opioid drugs, talk to your doctor. Ask about naloxone and about medicated assisted treatment (MAT) options.
Recovery from opioid use disorder is possible.
- Drug overdoses are now killing more Americans under the age of 50 than any other cause.
- More than 175 people die every day from an overdose.
- Opioids are powerful pain-killing drugs.
- Opioids include legally prescribed drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and fentanyl.
- Heroin, the street drug, is also illegal.
- Opioid use has risks, even if prescribed by a Doctor.
- Regular use can lead to dependence and addiction
- Opioid misuse can lead to dependence and addiction. When misused, overdose and death are possible.
- Opioid misuse can have long-lasting effects on the brain. For this reason, opioid use disorder is considered a chronic disease.
- Opioid use disorder can happen to anyone.
- 95 million Americans used opioids in the past year – more than used tobacco.
- It is common for a person misusing prescription opioids to illegally use drugs that were prescribed to a family member or friend.
- Across the US, heroin use has increased in people of all ages, across all income levels.
- A prior dependence on prescription opioids is one of the biggest risk factors for starting heroin.
- Because heroin is often injected, people are at higher risk for HIV and hepatitis.
- Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, used for treating severe pain.
- Fentanyl is up to 100 times stronger than morphine and many more times stronger than heroin.
- The use of illegally made and sold fentanyl is on the rise.
- Fentanyl is being added to heroin.
- Fentanyl is also being added to non-opioid drugs such as cocaine, or pills made to look like drugs such as Xanax.
- Carfentanil is another very strong synthetic opioid. Just a few grains can kill someone.
- First responders, bystanders, and pets risk overdose if they accidentally touch or breathe in these synthetic opioids – including if they touch the overdose victim.
- Studies suggest that fentanyl and similar opioids are causing the increase in overdose deaths.
- The Overdose Prevention Act is a Statewide legislation (NJ) that protects people calling for help during an overdose – designed to reduce legal barriers and save lives.
- Naloxone is a drug that can reverse an opioid overdose.
- People with Opioid Use Disorder and loved ones should keep Naloxone on hand and know how to use it.
- Friends and family should know the signs of an overdose and how to use Naloxone.
- A doctor or pharmacist can tell you where to get Naloxone and how to use it. They can be sold over the counter at pharmacies.
- Opioid Use Disorder can be treated.
- Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) can help control addiction.
- MAT often involves both medication and counseling.
- Even with treatment, it is not unusual for a person with an opioid use disorder to relapse (go back to using drugs) at least once.
- It takes time to replace addictive behaviors with coping skills.
- A person’s tolerance (how much of a drug a person needs to feel effects/tolerate) will lower with nonuse of the drug. An opioid relapse can be deadly. Have naloxone on hand.
- If you are concerned about Opioid dependence or addiction in yourself, or someone you care about – REACH OUT. Speak with a doctor, clergy, hotlines, or your local resource agency for possible options. Treatment is available. Recovery is possible.
- Fentanyl is a powerful prescription painkiller. Doctors may prescribe it in cases of severe pain.
- Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, which means it can be made in a lab. Street-drug suppliers may not know the strength of a particular batch of fentanyl. This increases the risk of overdose in users.
- Sometimes prescription fentanyl ends up illegally sold on the street.
- Other times, it is illegally made, or brought in from other countries.
- Because it is relatively cheap, fentanyl is being added to heroin and other illegal drugs.
- Illegal pills are made to copy the look of common prescription drugs such as Oxycodone, Percocet, Vicodin, Xanax, and others.
- These counterfeit or “fake” pills often have fentanyl added to them.
- The people who buy and use these drugs may not know that the pills contain fentanyl.
- Fentanyl is 30 to 50 times stronger than heroin. This means its effects come on more strongly and much more quickly than with other opioid drugs.
- Fentanyl slows down a person’s breathing and heart rate. When too much is taken, fentanyl can quickly cause death.
Who is at risk of a fentanyl overdose?
- Heroin users who may not know fentanyl has been added to the heroin.
- Anyone who uses other drugs to which fentanyl has been added, including MDMA (ecstasy), cocaine, and counterfeit pills.
- A person who is relapsing (using drugs after quitting or going through drug treatment) has an increased chance of overdosing because their body is no longer used to the drug.
- loss of consciousness
- pinpoint pupils
- slowed breathing
- slow or erratic heart rate
- cold, clammy skin or skin that has turned blue or gray
- symptoms can occur right away
- A person who uses opioids or other drugs that may have fentanyl should always have naloxone on hand.
- If a person shows signs of overdose, call 911 ang give naloxone right away. More than one dose may be needed.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist about where to get naloxone and how to use it.