On what would have been Prince’s birthday today, instead, headlines scream “How did Prince get his hands on Fentanyl?” In the meantime, people in recovery laugh and say obtaining the drug that killed Prince back in April is as easy as buying a pack of cigarettes. Fentanyl overdose isn’t “new” news.
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opiate analgesic similar to morphine, but immensely more powerful. It is used to treat patients with severe pain, but is also readily available as a street drug and often mixed with heroin. It causes a lot of overdose and death, and addiction. To have such a well-known celebrity such as Prince die from it will maybe shed some light on the growing problem.
What is Fentanyl
Fentanyl can be up to 100 times more potent than heroin, and causes more intense and rapid onset of respiratory depression, which gives users a bigger chance of overdose. Additionally, fentanyl is often mixed with or sold as heroin, so an addict will overdose because they don’t know exactly what it is they are getting.
Deaths related to fentanyl overdose rose by 500% from 2013 to 2014, and last March, the DEA classified fentanyl as a threat to health and public safety. The drug is so dangerous because of it’s immense strength and fast-action. However, fentanyl tends to wear off fast, leaving a user wanting more, immediately – and eventually seeking out higher and higher doses.
Prince’s Fentanyl Overdose Remains a Mystery
The question about Prince is whether or not he was prescribed fentanyl, or if he obtained it illegally, through a dealer or acquaintance. He was found unresponsive after a self-administered dose, in his elevator, leaving so many questions. If he was prescribed the medicine for pain, who prescribed it? The fact that there were doctors en route to his house for an intervention make it clear that scary drug abuse was going on. It makes is sad that they were so close, but just couldn’t make it in time to save Prince’s life.
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Most people who overdose don’t intend to. Contrary to what it may look like to the rest of us, they aren’t suicidal, and definitely don’t want to die. Overdoses happen fast, and there are a couple of factors that tend to cause them. First, they tend to happen when someone hasn’t used in a while, and thinks they can handle the same amount as they could when they stopped using last time. This isn’t the case – and people OD very easily because of this.
Second, when a person buys street drugs, they never know exactly what is in them. Heroin mixed with fentanyl is a common cause of overdose, and the people who overdose just had no idea.
In the case of Prince, we may never know all the hows and whys, but it’s safe to say he was suffering a battle of addiction, which so many of us have been through. It’s a tragedy that he is now a part of the statistic of people who don’t survive their drug use, but we can only learn from his example and make the dangers of fentanyl overdose known.