Don’t Overestimate Your Heroin Tolerance – It Might Be the Last Thing You Do

Table of Contents

You may have heard about fentanyl, a synthetic opioid similar to morphine. What you may not have heard about, however, is the ultra-potent concentrated version of it: carfentanil.

What We Know About Carfentanil

Developed in the mid-1970s as a tranquilizer for large animals such as elephants and hippos, carfentanil is 10,000 times more potent than morphine. A lethal dose in humans is only 20 micrograms, which is the size of a grain of sand or the weight of about ten snowflakes. And the scary thing is, it doesn’t necessarily need to be intentionally ingested.

“If a person just gets it on their hand and accidentally touches their eye, touches their mouth, that could prove to be fatal for them,” said Dr. Neil Capretto.

What’s more, thousands of people are unknowingly buying heroin that’s laced with the deadly drug. This has become a common practice among dealers, mainly because synthetic opioids like carfentanil are cheap to purchase, making them an ideal ingredient to add in baggies of heroin.

Just this year, officials have already seen a noticeable uptick in heroin overdoses, which they attribute to the growing prevalence of carfentanil in the States. And because it’s so powerful, officials believe that even multiple injections of the anti-overdose drug naloxone may not even be enough to prevent a fatal overdose.

How is This Drug Reaching the U.S.?

Carfentanil “normally comes in – we’re told – by the U.S. mail system, usually from China,” Ohio Senator Rob Portman said. “Some laboratory in China producing it, and then shipping it to the United States by mail.”

Elicit sellers are able to do so, he said, because they’ve found loopholes in the U.S. mail system – namely how to send something without having to provide tracking information.

Portman has since introduced the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention act, a new law that would require the U.S. Postal Service to track senders the same way private shippers do. And thankfully, the Chinese government has also gotten involved. Earlier this month, China began banning the manufacture and sale of four variations of fentanyl – carfentanil included.

Though it’s too early to determine whether these actions will make a significant impact on what has become a growing problem in our country, officials remain optimistic. But in the meantime, one thing’s for sure: Keep your distance from this deadly drug. It has a license to kill.

Image Source: iStock

American Addiction Centers logo
Begin treatment today

The content on DrugAbuse.com is brought to you by American Addiction Centers (AAC), a nationwide network of leading substance abuse and behavioral treatment facilities.

Verify Your Insurance CoverageView Our Treatment Centers

Find a rehab center near you

Related articles
american addiction centers photo
The editorial staff of DrugAbuse.com is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers . Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands of pages for accuracy and relevance. Our reviewers consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA, NIDA, and other reputable sources to provide our readers the most accurate content on the web.
Popular Providers