A carfentanil high can cause feelings of drowsiness, euphoria, numbness, and sedation.
Carfentanil is a highly potent synthetic opioid, and is a fentanyl analogue with a similar structure to fentanyl. It can be used as an intravenous tranquilizer for large animals, and is not approved for use in humans.
Carfentanil is estimated to be about 10,000 times stronger than morphine. By comparison, fentanyl can be around 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine on average. Carfentanil is classified as a schedule II controlled substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Carfentanil can be mixed into street drugs such as cocaine and heroin. People who take illicit drugs should exercise extreme caution, as very small concentrations of carfentanil can cause respiratory depression, unconsciousness, and opioid overdose death.
Side Effects Of Carfentanil Highs
Carfentanil can be a target of drug abuse due to its high potency, sedation, and analgesic properties.
Carfentanil can cause effects in humans starting at doses of 1 microgram, leading to side effects such as:
- low blood pressure
- slowed heart rate
How Carfentanil Use Causes Euphoria
Carfentanil bonds to opioid receptors in the central nervous system (CNS). It is an agonist that stimulates feelings of analgesia and sedation after binding to these receptors.
Compared to prescription opioids for human use, carfentanil can cause toxicity in small doses.
Carfentanil may be mixed into a dangerous combination of illicit drugs, known as gray death. Any combination of carfentanil with illicit drugs can be dangerous, since it can be mixed with other substances without the buyer’s knowledge.
The potency of fentanyl analogues can be dangerous through exposure. Law enforcement officials who came into contact with fentanyl during field testing have reported overdose symptoms. The same properties may apply to fentanyl derivatives.
Dangers Of Carfentanil
Small concentrations of carfentanil can cause an opioid overdose. The exact amount of carfentanil needed to cause an overdose is unknown.
Since fentanyl can be lethal in doses as small as 2 milligrams, a lethal dose of carfentanil may be smaller.
Symptoms of an opioid overdose include:
- respiratory depression (extremely slowed or stopped breathing)
- lack of a pulse
- vomiting or gurgling noises
- state of unconsciousness
- pinpoint pupils
Opioid overdose symptoms can be reversed with naloxone. Naloxone is available as Narcan, a nasal spray that can be given by people without medical training. Giving naloxone to an overdose victim can potentially save their life while waiting for first responders to arrive.
Due to the potency of carfentanil, however, overdose victims may require multiple doses of naloxone to reverse the deadly effects, as well as further care at the emergency department.
A 2017 report from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found carfentanil present in around 11% of opioid overdose related deaths, the most of any fentanyl analog. This number may have risen in more recent years.
Abusing any drug can increase your risk of drug addiction. This also applies to a potent drug like carfentanil, which has no medical use in humans.
Potential signs of drug addiction to carfentanil include:
- presence of drug paraphernalia, such as syringes
- changes in behavior
- visible side effects of opioid use, such as drowsiness
- changes in social patterns and groups
Treatment Options For Synthetic Opioid Abuse
Carfentanil is one of the most potent opioids produced. A prescription version of the drug, Wildnil, is given by veterinarians to animals as a strong anesthetic. Any use of carfentanil in humans is likely a form of drug abuse.
The DEA has declared fentanyl to be a public health crisis due to its involvement in overdose fatalities. Since then, synthetic opioid abuse statistics have increased, including derivatives like carfentanil.
Synthetic opioid abuse can be difficult to overcome without professional help. Contact Northeast Addictions Treatment Center for information on our outpatient synthetic opioid use treatment program.
Northeast Addition Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.