Carfentanil is a drug that’s become more popular within the past two years.
More and more people are turning to carfentanil as a cheaper and more accessible alternative to heroin, another dangerous opioid that has a high potential for abuse. As more people fall victim to the current opioid epidemic in the United States, new street drugs like carfentanil are increasing the rate of those affected by addiction. To better inform you on this drug, our drug and alcohol treatment center in Chicago is sharing more about carfentanil abuse, its side effects, overdose symptoms, and more
What Is Carfentanil?
Carfentanil is a synthetic opioid analgesic that was first synthesized in 1974 and has since been commonly used as a tranquilizer for large animals like horses and elephants. It usually only takes about 10 mg to sedate a large animal with this drug, so you can imagine how powerful it is. Carfentanil is currently the most potent fentanyl analog and is about 10,000 times more potent than morphine and around 100 times more powerful than fentanyl.1 As with other opioids, it works by attaching itself to opioid receptors in the central nervous system. When snorted, injected, smoked, or absorbed through the skin as a cream, it produces symptoms similar to those of opioids but can also cause respiratory depression.
Carfentanil is a colorless and odorless drug that comes in a liquid form. It may also come in the form of a pale yellow or white powder, similar to heroin. It’s also often used as a cutting agent in other drugs like heroin, fentanyl, or prescription medications, increasing users’ risk of overdose and death. While carfentanil may be difficult to purchase, it isn’t impossible. Its potency has made it a difficult drug to find, and users tend to purchase their supply online, from a drug dealer, or a friend.
Some common carfentanil street names include:
- China girl
- China town
- China white
- Gray death (when mixed with heroin and cocaine)
- Serial killer
Carfentanil Side Effects
Because it’s so potent, the most common side effect of carfentanil abuse is death. Users tend to use it frequently in one sitting due to its short-lived high, which can occur immediately but only lasts for two hours.
However, a carfentanil high produced by a small dose can cause side effects like:
- Decreased heart rate
- Difficulties breathing
- Excessive sweating
- Muscle aches and pains
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pinpoint pupils
- Runny nose
- Trouble concentrating
Carfentanil is a highly addictive synthetic opioid that can easily cause an overdose and death. Going over carfentanil dosage by 0.01 mg can mark the difference between life and death. Long-term abuse of this drug increases the chances of death by overdose. Banyan Treatment Centers Chicago offers residential addiction treatment in Illinois that helps people recover from severe addictions to dangerous substances like carfentanil.
It only takes 0.02 mg of carfentanil for a person to overdose. This drug is known for its potency and even a small dosage of it can be deadly. Long-term carfentanil recreational use also increases users’ chances of experiencing severe side effects, including overdose.
Some common carfentanil overdose symptoms include:
- Respiratory depression or shallow breathing
- Awake but unable to speak
- Constricted pupils
- Heart failure
- Limp body
- Nausea and vomiting
- Choking sounds (“death rattle”)
- Slow pulse and heart rate
If someone experiences an opioid overdose, call 9-1-1 immediately. If the individual has a carfentanil addiction, our opiate treatment program at Banyan Chicago can help.
Common Signs of Carfentanil Abuse
People who abuse opioids or drugs like heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl are more likely to use carfentanil because it’s a cheaper alternative. An individual who purchases these drugs on the street may not even know that they’re possibly ingesting carfentanil as well. Also, a person who does consciously abuse carfentanil recreationally is at a higher risk of experiencing an overdose.
Individuals who are addicted to carfentanil may show symptoms like:
- Talking about their drug use frequently
- Purchasing drugs online or from other people
- Spending time with others who also use drugs
- Fluctuations in mood and weight
- Lack of hygiene
- Neglect of responsibilities at home, school, or work
- Using street names previously mentioned in conversations with others
- Distinct changes in behavior
- Isolation from loved ones
The carfentanil drug is dangerous and can easily lead to death by overdose. If you’re struggling with an addiction to drugs like carfentanil or know someone who is, get help immediately. The physical and psychological aspects of addiction can be difficult to overcome without help. Call us now at 888-280-4763 to learn more about our addiction levels of care.