For Ohioans, the opioid crisis continues to surge on. With fentanyl on the rise, addiction and overdose deaths continue to cast a shadow over our communities. But you didn’t think you needed to worry about this, since your loved one was struggling with cocaine, a completely different drug.
Unfortunately, cocaine laced with fentanyl has started spread through Ohio. For example, in Franklin County, 30 percent of all overdose deaths in 2019 were a result of cocaine and fentanyl. That’s double the amount from last year.
If your loved one is suffering from cocaine addiction, chances are you know it carries risks and your loved one needs help. But fentanyl makes your loved one’s addiction even more dangerous than it already is. In this post, we’re going to explain why the risks of fentanyl-laced cocaine are too treacherous to ignore.
Why Combine Cocaine and Fentanyl?
Before we dive into the dangers, let’s discuss why it’s becoming more common to combine cocaine and fentanyl. While fentanyl is somewhat new to the media headlines, the rationale behind combining it with other drugs like cocaine isn’t.
It’s called “speedballing”, and here’s how it works. Cocaine is a stimulant, while fentanyl is an opioid depressant. On their own, they each provide a high. But when mixed together, that high is amplified. The cocaine gives your body a rush of energy, while fentanyl adds to the high and cuts down the usual restlessness and anxiety most cocaine users feel.
Think about this process like a roller coaster. Your high goes up, while the opioid brings you back down over time. You then get a rush of euphoria and the ride starts all over again. It’s a process that overloads your brain with serotonin and adrenaline.
The Real Danger of Fentanyl-Laced Cocaine
Unintentional Cocaine and Fentanyl Use
One of the biggest dangers of this drug combination is not knowing that cocaine is laced with fentanyl in the first place. It’s not uncommon for illicit drugs to be laced with another substance. But why is this combination especially perilous?
Part of it comes down to how strong fentanyl is. Unlike many other opioids, fentanyl’s chemical makeup allows it to bind to the opioid receptors in the brain much faster. This means even the smallest miscalculation in dosage can overload the brain and cause an overdose.
So, if someone takes cocaine that’s laced with fentanyl, there’s a much higher risk of an overdose. And for people who aren’t aware of the fentanyl, that risk increases because they are likely to have a lower opioid tolerance
Intentional Cocaine and Fentanyl Use
The reality is, it’s hard to know whether cocaine suppliers are intentionally combining cocaine and fentanyl. But there are people who are addicted to the “speedballing” effect we mentioned above, who seek out this cocaine and fentanyl combination. But even if someone has a higher opioid tolerance, it doesn’t mean the danger goes away.
Given how strong fentanyl is, overdose is always a concern. And just like with any drug, it takes more and more cocaine and fentanyl over time to feel the same effects. Without a laboratory, there’s no real way to know how much fentanyl is mixed into the cocaine. So, even someone who may be used to taking both drugs is still at a serious risk of overdosing.
Cocaine Laced with Fentanyl Side Effects
While the primary concern is overdose, there are additional side effects you should be aware of. Some of the most common ones include:
- Slowed or labored breathing
- An altered heart rate
- Risk of developing or worsening mental health conditions
- Hallucinations and severe confusion
- Liver, kidney and lung damage
- High blood pressure
- Permanent damage to blood vessels in the heart and brain
Cocaine and Fentanyl Treatment in Lorain
If your loved one is struggling with a cocaine addiction, the rise in fentanyl-laced cocaine is scary. But finding treatment for the addiction is the best way to help lower your loved one’s risk of overdose and keep them safe.
At Silver Maple Recovery, our expert team can help your loved one break free from addiction. You’ll experience a private detox where our medical professionals can manage withdrawal symptoms. From there, your loved one will transition into our inpatient program, where healthy coping skills and sobriety become our shared mission.
If your loved one is struggling from a cocaine addiction, healing and recovery is within reach. Silver Maple Recovery has a team of professional caregivers ready to assist you 24/7. Call today at (855) 762-7531 or contact us to learn more about our approach to addiction treatment.