Carfentanil Signs, Symptoms and Side Effects

Carfentanil is a synthetic opioid and a fentanyl analog, meaning it is very similar to fentanyl, albeit more potent and cheaper. Carfentanil is 10,000 times more lethal than morphine, and 1,000 times more powerful than fentanyl. Due to its potency, it is used as an anesthesia or as a tranquilizing medicine for large animals like elephants. Even for medical purposes, carfentanil use with humans is not approved because even a small amount of the drug can be deadly.

Many drug dealers mix carfentanil and fentanyl into heroin and cocaine due to their similar white powder-like substance. This practice is extremely dangerous for people intending to take heroin or cocaine because they could ingest carfentanil without knowing it — which could have severe consequences. It’s often tough to distinguish carfentanil from heroin or cocaine.

However, there are a few common signs of misuse to look for to identify someone experiencing a carfentanil high

Carfentanil overdose is a growing problem in the United States, which is why it’s important to identify some of the signs of carfentanil misuse.

Since the drug is often mixed with heroin or cocaine — and is part of the combination known as “gray death,” a mixture of heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil and other opioids — misuse of these two substances is one potential sign of carfentanil misuse. Even if someone is not knowingly taking carfentanil, they still could be ingesting the drug into their system and running the risk of sustaining a severe injury or building a dependence on it.

Other signs of carfentanil misuse include looking to buy carfentanil online or using one of the many carfentanil street names, including:

  • Apache
  • China White
  • China Girl
  • Drop Dead
  • Gray Death
  • Serial Killer
  • Tango and Cash
  • TNT

If someone is casually using any of these names, looking to buy carfentanil online or interested in taking heroin, fentanyl or cocaine, they might be misusing carfentanil. If so, they are in danger of not only overdosing, but of building a dependence on opioids and drugs in general.

People who ask about the symptoms of carfentanil abuse often are worried that they or their loved one has become addicted to the drug. Since the substance is often mixed in with other similar-looking drugs, carfentanil misuse often goes undetected until it’s too late. Just a few grains of carfentanil can cause death because of the drug’s extreme potency.

If you are worried that a friend or family member is misusing carfentanil, there are some signs to look out for.

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The most common and severe side effect of carfentanil misuse is death. Drug experts stress that the substance is extremely powerful. If a human takes even a small amount of carfentanil, they risk dying from an overdose.

If someone is able to take carfentanil without dying, some of the common symptoms of misusing this drug are similar to other synthetic opioids or morphine. People might experience calmness, tranquility, nausea and drowsiness. Other common symptoms associated to misuse of opiates to look for include:

  • Runny nose
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Depression
  • Inability to concentrate
Many people ask, “What is Carfentanil?” The number of people asking this question has increased in frequency due to the drug’s rise in the United States in the past few years.

Carfentanil was first synthesized in 1974 by a team of chemists and came to the U.S. from China. The Drug Enforcement Agency classified carfentanil as a Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substances Act. However, that designation has not stopped the drug from ending lives and becoming a major hurdle in the war on drugs in North America.

In 2017, in Alberta, Canada, carfentanil misuse caused 125 overdose deaths, which was nearly 100 more than what occurred in 2016. In the United States, Arizona had its first carfentanil overdose case in August of 2017, and Cincinnati, Ohio, had more than 30 overdoses related to carfentanil in 2016. Yet, medical professionals have difficulty tracking carfentanil misuse due to how the drug can be masked with other substances such as heroin and cocaine. Therefore, accurately identifying the number of overdose deaths caused by carfentanil is tough.

One of the most common ways carfentanil addiction develops is by accident. People who misuse cocaine or heroin believe the drug they are taking is 100 percent, pure cocaine or heroin, but because carfentanil looks similar to those drugs, it can be mixed in without someone noticing. Even consuming a tiny amount of carfentanil can be deadly, or at least lead to an experience that is similar to other synthetic opioids. When people take carfentanil but do not suffer severe injuries, their body could become used to the drug’s presence and grow reliant on it for feelings of euphoria and relaxation.

The best way to avoid accidently developing a carfentanil addiction is to avoid drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Any substance that comes in a white powder-like form could include carfentanil and noticing the presence of carfentanil would be extremely difficult.

The worst outcome from carfentanil use is death. Many people have overdosed from carfentanil, and it’s possible to not even realize that carfentanil is present in another drug until it is too late. Carfentanil is often deadly since a dosage of just 2 mg is enough to kill a person.

Carfentanil is an extremely dangerous drug and should be avoided at all costs. Even a small amount can lead to death, which is why misuse in any form or amount is strongly discouraged. However, the drug can be masked within other substances due to its appearance, so people who misuse heroin or cocaine should be extremely cautious that they do not mistakenly take carfentanil. The best way to avoid taking the drug is to also avoid taking similar-looking drugs.

If you or a loved one is addicted to heroin or cocaine, or another synthetic opioid, there is a risk of carfentanil overdose. To avoid this danger, seek help to begin the rehabilitation process. The Recovery Village has a team of experts with the knowledge and resources to help people cope with their substance use disorders and co-occurring mental illnesses. Additionally, the staff members can educate people on the dangers of carfentanil and how it can be mixed in with other drugs, making misuse of those drugs just as deadly as intentionally taking carfentanil. With this information, people can understand the risks associated with drug misuse in order to begin their recovery and live a healthier life.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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