Opioids like fentanyl and heroin are gripping the lives of countless Americans across the country. But what’s the difference between fentanyl and heroin? Aren’t all opioid-based drugs the same? This is a false narrative. There are many differences in these two powerful, addictive, and dangerous opioids that are harming the lives of millions of people in the United States on a daily basis.
What is Heroin?
Heroin comes from morphine, which is produced naturally in the seeds of the poppy plant. It enters into the brain rapidly and binds to the opioid receptors that are an essential part of feeling pleasure and pain. These receptors also play a role in the heart rate, breathing, and sleeping. Using this powerful opioid can lead to dependence and withdrawal, and can potentially lead to both fatal and nonfatal overdose.
What is Fentanyl?
One difference between fentanyl and heroin is how they are produced. While heroin is produced from a naturally occurring component, fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is made to be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl is used in the treatment of pain, however due to its potency and associated dangers, legally produced fentanyl is highly regulated. Because of this, it is widely produced and used illegally.
What’s the Difference Between Fentanyl and Heroin?
Both of these dangerous and powerful opioids are sought out for illegal use. Both have similar effects on the body. But, other than the production differences, what’s the difference between fentanyl and heroin? There are many. Firstly, heroin is produced simply for illegal use. There is no real medical need, and it is not used for medical purposes. Fentanyl is a synthetic drug used for treatment of pain, particularly after surgery and those who suffer with chronic pain and have a tolerance to other medications.
Another difference between fentanyl and heroin is the forms in which they are produced. Heroin is a brown or white powdery while legally produced fentanyl comes in lozenges, patches, or pills or tablets, injectable liquid, or produced illegally, it can come in powder form. Probably the biggest difference between fentanyl and heroin is how lethal they are. While there is the potential for heroin-related overdose and overdose death, fentanyl is much more potent and powerful.
Due to this, the probability of overdose from fentanyl is higher. It does not take much, and the dangers of overdose can be present with even the tiniest amount. It can be absorbed through the skin, or through accidental exposure, potentially leading to fatal results.
Both fentanyl and heroin can lead to dependence. They can also lead to uncomfortable and painful withdrawal symptoms if the opioids are abruptly stopped. This is why they are both recommended to have medically supervised detoxification when someone is going through withdrawal. This can help ensure long-lasting recovery.
Opioid Dependence and Withdrawal
Opioids have a way of causing physical and mental dependence on them. Both fentanyl and heroin attach to the opioid receptors in the brain, and alter the pleasure sensors and pain sensors. So when these substances are removed from daily consumption, the body and brain are essentially shocked into overdrive wondering what is going on, and why it doesn’t have these “necessary” substances to function.
Once the substances are removed, there can be some pretty uncomfortable symptoms left behind as the opioids leave the body. These can include mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms ranging from headaches, nausea, and vomiting to more severe symptoms like high blood pressure and fevers. The length of time these symptoms can be experienced, as well as the severity of the symptoms, is completely dependent on the person experiencing them.
There are different factors that play into how withdrawal will affect someone. Physical health, mental health, and age can all be factors. No two people will have the same experience, although there are some commonly seen symptoms during opioid withdrawal. This is why it is extremely important, and highly suggested to seek the assistance of medical professionals when attempting to stop using these powerful opioids like fentanyl and heroin.
Addressing physical symptoms as they arise can make the process more comfortable. Having mental health professionals available as well can alleviate some of the mental health effects associated with opioid withdrawal like depression and anxiety.
Find Freedom From Opioid Addiction
Addiction to opioids is one of the nation’s leading causes of premature death. The opioid crisis is rampant across the country, and its grip can be hard to escape. However, there is help available to those who are struggling. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction to opioids like fentanyl and heroin, Brentwood Springs can help. Our goal is to provide a safe and comfortable environment to heal the mind, body, and spirit.
Contact us today and our team of professionals can help walk you through the beginning stages.