Fentanyl in Cocaine: The Risks of Mixing Opioids and Stimulants

Cocaine that has been laced with fentanyl is a growing danger, and it is claiming more and more lives each year. The combination of opioids and stimulants can also lead to multiple addictions, increasing the potential risks to physical and mental health. When these addictions meet, oftentimes the best help is comprehensive addiction treatment.

The opioid crisis has been plaguing America for several decades, and gets more intense every year. There seem to be new developments in the crisis appearing all the time. One of the more recent ones is fentanyl in cocaine, where the stimulant is mixed with the opioid.

Mixing these two drugs typically isn’t a choice of the buyer. This isn’t a trend where people are intentionally mixing drugs to try themselves: shipments of cocaine are laced with fentanyl, almost never with the buyer’s awareness. This can be increasingly dangerous, as it heightens the risk of multiple addictions and adds together the physical and mental health issues that come from both opioids and stimulants. In some cases, the effect can be debilitating, even fatal.

The risks are serious. Preventing this demands a likewise serious effort. Luckily, for people already suffering from the consequences of fentanyl in cocaine, there are avenues for help. Comprehensive addiction treatment is a way to safely detox and recover from your addiction and put you back in control of your life. The only surefire way to avoid the risks of cocaine laced with fentanyl, after all, is to stop taking cocaine in the first place.

The Rising Risks of Fentanyl in Cocaine

To start with, it is important to understand fentanyl. This synthetic opioid was created for cancer patients suffering from unbearable pain. The problem arose when it found its way to the general public. One dose is considered 50 times stronger than a dose of heroin, which makes it more addictive and more deadly. Indeed, a 50% jump in opioid overdoses over the last three years are largely due to the spike in fentanyl use.

Over the last few years, it has started to make an appearance in cocaine. Some staggering statistics:

  • Connecticut has reported a 420% increase in cocaine/fentanyl deaths over the last three years.
  • MA police report that the amount of cocaine laced with fentanyl has tripled over the last year.
  • In one June 2018 weekend in Philly, 18 people overdosed from a combination of crack cocaine and fentanyl.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Experts are debating whether these shipments were tainted accidentally or purposefully. But given how much this combination balloons addiction rates, it seems clear that it can spread surprisingly quickly across the country, posing serious risks for people suffering from addiction to either or both substances.

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The Risks of Multiple Addictions

Obviously, it is difficult for anyone to be addicted to either cocaine or opioids. These addictions don’t cancel each other out, however. Indeed, all too often, they feed each other.

Cocaine, a powerful stimulant, can cause some of the following symptoms:

  • Tremors
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Convulsions
  • Stroke
  • Complete cardiac arrest

Fentanyl, a devastating opioid, can cause some of these following symptoms:

  • Drowsiness
  • Mental confusion
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Continuous vomiting
  • Significant disorientation
  • Complete loss of consciousness

Any of these addictions can be fatal. The more you use them, the more dangerous they become, as addiction leads to tolerance, which in turn leads to craving more and upping the doses. When they are combined, you have addictions to two separate substances, and the need for both grows. Your body will crave cocaine (in any form) and fentanyl (or at least some powerful opioid, including heroin). It’s a dangerous combination, one that can have long-term, life-altering consequences.

But there is hope.

The Power of Comprehensive Addiction Treatment

If you or someone you know has been mixing cocaine and fentanyl, whether intentionally or not, it’s vital to get help sooner rather than later. Opioids and stimulants are a powerful combination, but comprehensive treatment from compassionate professionals can be just as powerful.

A comprehensive program takes both addictions and breaks them down. It recognizes that, at the moment, one can’t exist without the other, and treats them as parts of a whole, rather than separate, unrelated issues. It also involves looking at the person’s background, understanding the causes of addiction, and helping the client work through that.

There’s no easy way to combat the rising risk of fentanyl in cocaine. There is so much to be done on a societal and policy-making level. But for an individual, there just has to be individual will and the support of family and friends. Battling addiction is hard work, but it can be done. And comprehensive treatment can give you the tools you need to win that battle—and win back your life.

Alta Mira offers comprehensive treatment for people struggling with drug and alcohol addiction as well as co-occurring mental health disorders and process addictions. Contact us to learn more about our renowned Bay Area programs and how we can help you or your loved one start the journey toward lasting recovery.