The alarming reality is that people who come into contact with fentanyl outside of a properly monitored setting are engaged in a life and death game of Russian Roulette. Knowingly or unknowingly coming into contact with fentanyl can result in a nearly immediate overdose. Oftentimes, a fentanyl overdose if deadly.
Fentanyl is an extremely powerful opioid. Researchers tell us that fentanyl is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine and 50 times more powerful than heroin. Only a miniscule amount of fentanyl is needed to have an impact on a person’s system. An overdose on fentanyl – including a fatal overdose – can happen very easily because only a small amount of the drug can have dire consequences.
With this borne in mind, there are five issues that need to be considered when it comes to fentanyl, the illicit fentanyl trade, and the concept of Russian Roulette:
- Understanding how fentanyl is cut
- Fentanyl added to heroin and cocaine
- Fentanyl sold as heroin
- Fentanyl mills
- Unknowing exposure to a fentanyl contaminated site
Understanding How Fentanyl Is Cut
Fentanyl used illegally is very dangerous. This reality arises in part because of the way in which fentanyl is cut on the illegal market.
Fentanyl is an extremely powerful opioid. A few granules of the drug the size of salt bits can be enough to cause an overdose in some situations.
When a drug is cut, the drug itself is not actually equally distributed through the entire batch. In other words, a particular dose of fentanyl (which may be pressed into pill form or provided to a user as a powder) may contain a level of fentanyl granules that render it particularly dangerous.
Fentanyl Added to Heroin and Cocaine
Another way in which a drug user can end up playing Russian Roulette with fentanyl stems from the addition of fentanyl to heroin or cocaine. In this day and age, and with growing regularity, fentanyl is added to heroin or cocaine. This typically is referred to as fentanyl being used to cut heroin or cocaine.
Fentanyl is used to cut heroin and cocaine for a couple of main reasons. First, fentanyl is cheaper than heroin or cocaine. Cutting heroin and cocaine in this manner allows a dealer to make his or her supply go further.
Moreover, adding fentanyl to heroin or cocaine gives a user a more significant “high.” Fentanyl is very powerful and has a significant impact on a user.
An important fact about fentanyl being added to heroin or cocaine is that a user may not know this has been done. As a consequence, a user runs a very real risk of fentanyl overdose because he or she is not aware of the presence of fentanyl in the heroin or cocaine.
Fentanyl Sold as Heroin
Yet another way in which fentanyl becomes a potentially deadly game of Russian Roulette is because of the grim reality that dealers do a dangerous bait and switch. With increasing regularity, dealers are substituting cheaper fentanyl for more expensive heroin. These dealers in turn sell fentanyl to users without telling them that they are receiving fentanyl instead of heroin.
This type of scenario can prove to be highly dangerous to a drug user. A user thinks that he or she is using heroin, which is less potent than fentanyl. As a result, the likelihood of overdosing is significantly increased.
In the United States, powdered fentanyl fairly regularly is pressed into pill form. This is done at a location that oftentimes is referred to as a fentanyl mill. The manner in which fentanyl is pressed into pill form can present another situation that can be placed under the category of fentanyl Russian Roulette.
The process of pressing fentanyl pills can result in the mill site being contaminated by the drug. Fentanyl contamination of a property can be extremely dangerous.
If a person comes upon a site that he or she believes has the location of fentanyl pill pressing, law enforcement should be called immediately. Law enforcement can make a preliminary determination as to the state of the site. Law enforcement can additionally determine whether or not calling in a HAZMAT team is necessary.
Unknowing Exposure to a Fentanyl Contaminated Site
Finally, an innocent third party can be drug unwittingly into a fentanyl Russian Roulette scenario. For example, if a fentanyl pill making mill was operated in a location like a motel or hotel room, a subsequent guest may be exposed to a hazardous situation. The fact is that fentanyl powder residue very well may be left behind. Indeed, fentanyl contamination is almost a certainty.
Even exposure to a small amount of fentanyl residue can be extremely dangerous. This type of exposure can result in an unknowing third party experiencing severe and even potentially dealy health consequences.