By: Zinnia Healing Editorial Staff | Edited By: Rebecca Hill
Counterfeit Fentanyl Pills: Identification, Dangers, and Getting Help
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid used to treat pain, but it’s also used recreationally. It’s between 50 and 100 times more potent than morphine, which puts individuals at a high risk of drug overdose if they misuse it. Unfortunately, fentanyl has also been the target of drug networks producing fake prescription pills. Fake fentanyl pills can contain a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl.
Fentanyl is extremely deadly, and fake fentanyl can pose even more health risks. If you or a loved one needs help with addiction, Zinnia Healing can help. Dial (855) 430-9439 to speak with our support staff 24/7.
Are Fake Pills Dangerous To Take?
Fentanyl may be mixed with other substances like opioids, ecstasy, methamphetamines, or benzodiazepines. People can also combine these substances into fake pills, which look similar to the real thing.
Fake fentanyl pills are dangerous because fentanyl is already extremely powerful on its own, and illicit fentanyl contains an unknown amount of the drug. Additionally, the pill might contain various unknown substances, like meth, that have been fentanyl-laced. Since you don’t know what you’re taking or how much, you’re at significant risk of a fatal overdose that may have no warning signs.
Are you trying to quit fentanyl or help someone who is? Zinnia Healing is standing by. Call our helpline at (855) 430-9439 to get started.
What Do Counterfeit Pills Look Like?
Counterfeit pills can look nearly identical to legitimate prescription pills. The similarity is believed to have contributed to the spike in overdose deaths in recent years.
If you have fake fentanyl pills on hand, you might notice that the color or taste is slightly off, but you can’t count on these detection methods. Because of the prevalence of fake pills, it’s essential to know how to tell the difference.
The best way to stay safe is to avoid taking fentanyl unless you get it from your doctor. However, as part of a harm reduction campaign, state and local governments have begun explaining how to test fentanyl pills to ensure they are legitimate.
How To Use a Fentanyl Test Strip
You may be able to get free fentanyl test strips through your local government, like at a local syringe exchange. However, you can also find them online. Remember that although the test strips are easy to use, they are not 100% reliable.
To use the test strip, you need to crush a bit of the pill and mix it into water. Then, dip the test strip into the water mixture for about 15 seconds and lay it flat. Within about five minutes, the test strip will show you your results. If there is one line on the strip, that means it contains fentanyl. If there are two lines, it does not contain fentanyl.
While a test strip can tell you whether or not a pill contains fentanyl, it cannot indicate how much. Additionally, it cannot tell you whether other drugs are present, like amphetamines or opioids. For these reasons, test strips are most helpful when you’re trying to confirm that a pill is fake. If the test doesn’t detect fentanyl, you shouldn’t take the pill because you have no idea what illicit drugs are inside.
Safety Precautions When Taking Fentanyl
Before using a fentanyl pill that your physician didn’t prescribe, you should take a few precautions.
After testing the pill, start with a small dose. Remember that it only takes the equivalent of a few grains of salt (2 milligrams) of fentanyl to kill someone, even if that person has built up a tolerance to opioids. You should also avoid mixing the fentanyl with other substances, especially depressants or “downers” like alcohol.
If you’re taking fentanyl, make sure someone is around who knows where you are and what you are taking. Ideally, this person will be with you to watch for signs of an overdose. During an opioid overdose, the body becomes so relaxed that it may look like you’re in restful sleep. In reality, your breathing stops. People who are overdosing may go pale, become limp, or lose color in their lips or fingertips.
Lastly, if you are taking fentanyl or any other substance, you should have naloxone around. Naloxone can help you if you begin to overdose, but fentanyl is so potent that the standard dose of naloxone might not be enough. First responders should be called as soon as you suspect that you or someone you know is going into an overdose. If the person stops breathing in the meantime, you should administer CPR.
Substance Abuse Treatment Options
There are legitimate reasons to take fentanyl. However, if you aren’t getting your pills from your doctor like you would other prescription medications, you’re putting yourself at risk for accidental overdose. On the other hand, if you take fentanyl recreationally, it’s important to recognize the risks.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have emphasized the risks of taking a drug like fentanyl, whether or not it’s authentic. Put simply, prescription opioids require careful monitoring, dosing, and care. Taking them on your own can quickly lead to addiction, overdose, and long-term side effects.
Recovering from substance abuse takes time, but you have several treatment options available to you, including:
- Inpatient treatment at a hospital
- Inpatient treatment at a residential treatment center
- Outpatient treatment while you continue living at home
A recovery specialist can help you decide which treatment option is best, walking you through the details of each program. All you need to do is reach out and ask.
How Zinnia Healing Can Help
Asking for help with substance abuse can be scary. That’s why it’s crucial to find a judgment-free, confidential professional who can answer your questions and help you understand your treatment options. Supporting your long-term recovery and mental health should be a top priority for whatever team you work with.
If you’re ready to take the next step toward addiction treatment, let Zinnia Healing help. Call our helpline anytime, day or night, at (855) 430-9439 for more information.