Fentanyl Facts: 10 Facts About Fentanyl Use in South Florida

Last Updated: Sep 21st 2020

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

Fentanyl Facts: 10 Facts About Fentanyl Use in South Florida

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is an opioid that is prescribed for pain. It is usually prescribed to patients who are battling cancer or for individuals after surgery. Fentanyl is approximately 100 times stronger than morphine. 

Unfortunately, fentanyl has had devastating results across America with South Florida being one of the states leading the way. If you or a loved one is addicted to opioids, we can help through this trying time of your life here at 1st Step Behavioral Health.

There has been an exponential rise in opioid deaths since the late 1990s. The main 3 reasons for this rise in opioid-related death are as follows:

  • One reason is the increase in prescriptions. 
  • Another reason is that, by 2010, there was a fast increase in deaths involving heroin.
  • Beginning around 2013, there was an increase in overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids like fentanyl.

About Synthetic Fentanyl

What makes fentanyl even more dangerous it has been illegally imitated. This synthetic form of opioid is tremendously less expensive and easier to produce. There is no more need to harvest poppy plants to produce opioids. In some cases, the narcotic is mixed with heroin and cocaine. This exponentially multiplies its potency.

Another problem that arises is that, if a person overdoses on fentanyl, he or she may require a higher dose of naloxone (the reverse drug) to counter the effects of the overdose.

10 Facts About Fentanyl Use in the State of Florida 

1. According to the SunSentinel, in 2018, the opioid drug fentanyl killed more people in Palm Beach County than any other district in Florida.

2. Another interesting fact of Florida and fentanyl is that even as the opioid deaths go down nationally, Florida deaths from the narcotic continue to accelerate.

3. According to the Sun Sentinel, fentanyl was the cause of 41% of accidental deaths in Florida.

4. Florida’s law enforcement has made fentanyl a murder weapon in addition to knives and guns.

5. In 2016 in South Florida, almost 1,700 people died because of opioids.

6. Authorities took the liberty of shutting down an internet website used by some Floridians to buy fentanyl.

7. Former Governor Scott of Florida signed a bill to help prevent patients from getting hooked on the narcotic. The bill limits prescriptions that physicians can write. The bill limits the opioid to a three day supply. Another stipulation of the bill states that the physician’s office will have to check a database for monitoring the drugs and the possibility of abuse. 

8. In November of 2019, the Sun Sentinel reported that there had been 274 fentanyl overdoses to date, surpassing the 245 fentanyl overdoses that occurred in 2018.

9. The Palm Beach Post reported that fentanyl was the top killer among drug-related deaths in Florida.

10. In 2018, fentanyl was found in the bodies of over 2,700 individuals who passed away from drug-related issues. 

More on the Dangers of Fentanyl

Fentanyl is extremely dangerous which is increased since you cannot smell or taste it. This drug is known for its addictive qualities. Fentanyl is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine. This narcotic can reduce or even stop your breathing. The part of the brain that controls breathing is the same place where the opioid receptors are found. Fentanyl is quickly absorbed into the brain because of the major fat solubility. 

It is well known that only about 2 milligrams can kill a person. Frequently, other drugs like heroin or cocaine are laced with Fentanyl. If a person abuses this substance, it can lead to addiction, overdose, or it can even be lethal. 

Fentanyl is the cause of about half of the deaths related to opioids in America. In some cases, it is showing up laced in anxiety medications like Xanax. Unsuspecting individuals may think they are taking a prescription drug to help their anxiety but they’re actually taking fentanyl without their knowledge or permission. 

More About Fentanyl

A fact from the Drug Enforcement Agency claims that 1 kilogram of fentanyl can be purchased in China for about $4,000. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, this can produce revenue of one to two million dollars through illegal sales in America. Fentanyl has similar qualities to morphine. More Americans pass away from drug overdose than from car crashes. The rates per day of overdoses are over one hundred. About 28,000 people died from synthetic opioid overdoses in 2017. 

Fentanyl is created inexpensively in a lab. According to the police, much of the opioid overdose is from illegal fentanyl. People who stop illicit drugs then return back to the drug have a higher tolerance for that particular drug. This leads to addiction and is more prone to overdose. Ultimately, the drug can be lethal. 

A large number of states are reporting double-digit amounts of fentanyl confiscated each month across the United States of America. This leads the way for law enforcement to crack down on this illicit drug.

Increasing the awareness of fentanyl was the high profile story about the death of American pop singer Prince. This prompted politicians to increase the punishment for the sale of fentanyl and for having it in your possession.

Fentanyl Facts: Teenagers and Drug Use

With so many deaths in America, it is imperative to have discuss the dangers of this drug with teenagers. Unbeknownst to them, they can take fentanyl believing it is a medically-prescribed medication. Teenagers are at more risk of developing drug addictions. Sometimes, younger individuals “experiment” with drugs and even begin to mix them with other substances. In many cases, people mix drugs with alcohol to intensify the effects of both substances. But, when combined with alcohol or different narcotics, opioids can be lethal. Prevention of this drug is essential to correcting this epidemic. 

The Effects of Fentanyl Use

There are some negative effects of fentanyl, including:

  • Difficulty in concentration
  • Abdominal issues
  • Not wanting to eat
  • Slowed breathing
  • Constricted pupils
  • The sweating profusely
  • Overdose
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Death

Many people use fentanyl in order to experience its euphoric effects. But, it can do more harm than individuals may realize. Sometimes, people may stop breathing when they use an excessive amount of fentanyl. This can lead to permanent brain damage or even death. So, it’s important to avoid abusing this drug.

Mental Health and Drug Abuse

Many in the mental health community are advocating for supporting behavior health to help in the treatment of addiction. Fentanyl is used to amplify the brain’s bliss chemicals. This is why it is so addictive and so deadly. 

People who abuse drugs like opioids could possibly have an underlying mental health issue. This is known as a dual diagnosis. Both needs should be addressed for a full and complete recovery. If you or a loved one is dealing with a mental health issue, let us help here at 1st Step Behavioral Health.

Reach Out to Us For More Information

Whether a person is suffering from fentanyl abuse or another substance use problem. There is hope. Many people who find themselves struggling with drug addiction or alcoholism experience feelings of hopelessness. Often, people feel helpless when they’re in this condition. It can be hard to talk to others about what is happening. The fear of misunderstanding or vulnerability often keeps people from opening up about their struggles.

But, it’s important to seek help if addiction is affecting your life or the life of a loved one. Through a professional treatment program, individuals can find healing and freedom from substance abuse. Addiction is a disease, but it’s a treatable one. But, attempting to fight it alone can be dangerous. So, it’s best to get help from professionals who understand your needs.

If you or a loved one would like more information on getting help with mental health or opioid addiction, contact us at 1st Step Behavioral Health and let us help you to overcome substance abuse.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.