Project Recovery strongly believes in educating the public about the opioid epidemic, harm reduction, and substance use disorder’s signs & symptoms. Through education, the public is better able to understand and assist those in need while reducing stigma.

What is ‘Fentanyl’ and Why is it Important?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid typically used to treat patients with severe chronic pain or severe pain following surgical procedures.

  • Fentanyl is a controlled substance that is similar to morphine but is 100 times more powerful.
  • Illicit fentanyl, which is more commonly found in street drugs. It is primarily
    manufactured in foreign labs and is smuggled into the United States and is being
    sold on the illegal drug market throughout the nation.
  • Fentanyl is commonly mixed with other illicit substances such as
    methamphetamine, to increase the potency.
  • There is an increase in fentanyl being pressed into pills making them look like
    prescription drugs such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, and Xanax. These
    counterfeit pills often contain lethal doses of fentanyl leading to an opioid
    overdose and potentially death.

An opioid overdose can occur for various reasons:

  • Misuse of illicit drugs such as morphine, oxycodone, heroin, and synthetic fentanyl which is the number one cause of overdose deaths in the United States.
  • When an individual unknowingly misuses illicit substances such as methamphetamine, that is laced with synthetic fentanyl.
  • When an individual misuses illicit counterfeit pills.

What are the signs of an opioid overdose?

What is “Naloxone” and why is it important?

Naloxone is a medication used to rapidly reverse an overdose.

Naloxone may be administered using an intranasal spray, also as Narcan, which is the medication distributed by Project Recovery. This medication is an opioid antagonist meaning that it binds to opioid receptors and can reverse the effects of opioids such as heroin, morphine, oxycodone, and fentanyl. Administered when an individual is exhibiting signs of an opioid overdose, naloxone is a temporary treatment and its effects are short-lived, lasting approximately 15-minutes. Therefore, it is important to contact 911 to seek medical intervention after administering naloxone as the individual may return to an overdose.

Symptoms With Use

With human consumption, xylazine can cause symptoms of heavy sedation, breathing difficulties, dangerously low blood pressure, slowed heart rate, wounds that can become infected, and withdrawal symptoms that have been reported to be worse than fentanyl.

The Dangers of Xylazine

Mixtures of xylazine and fentanyl place people who use substances at a higher risk of suffering fatal drug poisoning. Naloxone, also known as Narcan, does not reverse the effects of xylazine because it is not an opioid. However, medical experts still recommend administering naloxone if you suspect someone is suffering a drug overdose. Xylazine raises additional concerns for people who inject drugs containing xylazine as there is increased risks of severe wounds developing as well as necrosis – the rotting of human tissue – which can lead to amputation.

What is “Xylazine” and how is it affecting our community?

Xylazine, also known as “Tranq”, is a powerful sedative that was approved for animal use, not human consumption, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In September 2021, the DEA issued a public safety alert, notifying the public about the widespread use of fentanyl mixed with xylazine. The DEA reports seizing mixtures of xylazine and fentanyl throughout the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), xylazine is beginning to dominate the illicit drug supply, with the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy declaring an emerging threat to the United States, making the deadliest drug this country has ever faced, fentanyl, even deadlier.