Unlike semi-synthetic and natural opiates, synthetic opiates do not come from the opium plant at all. Instead, they are created in a lab to mimic the effect of opiates. For example, some common opiates we see at our opiate addiction rehab include morphine and codeine. Semi-synthetic versions combine a natural opiate with chemicals, and these include heroin as well as oxycodone. Synthetics include methadone and fentanyl.
What Are Synthetic Opiates?
As mentioned above, synthetics simply mimic the effect of opiates on the body. They tend to be extremely potent and need only a small amount to affect. For example, only a sprinkle of fentanyl can reproduce the effects of several times that amount in heroin. One of the dangers of synthetic opiates is that they care fairly easy to produce in amateur labs since they only involve chemicals and know-how.
Fentanyl is probably the most common synthetic opioid as it has been researched exhaustively and approved for prescription use. It was first made in the 1960s and used primarily for surgery. Clinical use became more widespread in the 1990s with the release of a skin patch to treat pain. Illegally manufactured fentanyl is often used to cut heroin and other drugs, which can make these drugs much more dangerous.
Those who end up taking fentanyl illegally usually don’t do so on purpose. Instead, they encounter the drug along with another drug, such as heroin. This raises the risk of overdose.
Increased Dangers of Synthetic Opiates
The primary danger of synthetic opiates is not that they are necessarily more addictive than semi-synthetic or natural opiates, but that they are more potent. When someone takes what they think is their normal dose of heroin, but then it turns out to be cut with fentanyl, it can quickly create an overdose situation. Over 28,000 deaths occurred in 2017 due to overdosing on synthetic opioids. This is a larger number than any other type.
Overdose death rates from synthetic opioids have increased in nearly every state and over every demographic. Reports have found that the increase is directly related to overdoses involving fentanyl. The fentanyl source is almost always from an illegal manufacturer vs. a pharmaceutical one. Another problem is fentanyl analogs, which have a similar chemical structure.
These analogs have varying levels of potency, but one particular one called Carfentanil has been estimated to be 10,000 times more potent than morphine.
Get Help From Summit Detox
If you have a dependence on any type of opiate, then one of the first steps is to go through detox at our Florida opiate detox center programs. Supervised detox help mitigate any uncomfortable or risky withdrawal symptoms. Attempting to quit on your own is generally not successful due to the overwhelming risk of relapse during the craving period. Furthermore, stopping for a time and then resuming at your previous dosage can seriously raise the risk of an overdose.
Summit Detox in South Florida offers advanced medical treatment for opiate dependence. We feature the following programs and services:
- One-on-one counseling
- A comfortable, sunny location in Boynton Beach
- Caring staff
- Premium rooms
- 24/7 medical supervision
- Gender-specific floors