Meth Laced With Fentanyl: Overdoses Rise in Kansas City, Missouri

Similar to many states in the United States, the state of Missouri is currently in the throes of a serious drug epidemic. In fact, according to recent news reports, overdose deaths in the state have been steadily rising in recent years. Partly, this can be attributed to the fallout caused by the global pandemic that began in 2019 and was mostly felt in 2020. However, with the worst of the pandemic in the rearview, overdose deaths are still a major concern for state health officials.

The root cause of this problem (the rise in overdose deaths) is methamphetamines and other drugs which are being laced with the drug fentanyl. Fentanyl is a powerful opioid drug that is often used to treat patients who are suffering from pain after surgery. However, when it is mixed with other drugs like methamphetamines, it can be deadly. And not only can it be deadly, but it is also proving to be just that.

At Sana Lake BWC, we provide methamphetamine addiction treatment in Missouri. In this blog post, we will discuss the dangers of fentanyl-laced meth and provide some tips on how to identify when your meth has been tainted with this deadly substance.

Meth Laced with Fentanyl

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Many drugs from cocaine to heroin have all been seen to contain the drug fentanyl. Illegal drug manufacturers do this for a few reasons including to increase their profit margins and to create a more powerful drug. However, methamphetamines have become increasingly popular for illegal distribution due to meth’s reputation as an inexpensive way to get high.

In the state of Missouri, meth laced with fentanyl is another common drug combination that has led to overdose deaths. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has begun to note that sellers are packaging and pressing fentanyl into pills to appear as legitimate painkillers and stimulants. This means that unsuspecting people purchase counterfeit pills made from meth and fentanyl. Fentanyl-laced meth alone is a dangerous combination that has caused over 56,000 fatalities in 2021 alone in Kansas City, Missouri.

The reason why meth is laced with fentanyl is so dangerous is that meth and fentanyl, both powerful drugs on their own, become exponentially more potent when mixed. Fentanyl has been known to be anywhere from 50-100 times stronger than morphine and methamphetamines have several physical effects such as increased heart rate and respiration. Together, these two drugs can create a deadly concoction.

What is Meth?

Meth or methamphetamines are stimulants that affect the central nervous system. When taken, they produce effects similar to the parent drug amphetamines, which were originally used in nasal decongestants and bronchial inhalers. This includes the following effects:

  • Increased attention and decreased fatigue
  • Increased activity and wakefulness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Euphoria and rush
  • Increased respiration
  • Rapid/irregular heartbeat
  • Hyperthermia

Though, when meth is abused frequently or in high doses it can also cause the following:

  • Addiction
  • Psychosis, including: paranoia, hallucinations, and repetitive motor activity
  • Changes in brain structure and function
  • Deficits in thinking and motor skills
  • Increased distractibility
  • Memory loss
  • Aggressive or violent behavior
  • Mood disturbances
  • Severe dental problems
  • Weight loss

Meth is classified as a Schedule II drug, which means it has a high potential for abuse and can lead to physical and psychological dependence. Medically, meth is prescribed for very limited uses. These include the treatment of ADHD and the sleep disorder narcolepsy.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin. While it can be obtained legally as a prescription painkiller, it’s also used illegally on the street in powder or pill form.

When a doctor prescribes fentanyl,  it is meant to be used in a controlled environment. It generally comes in the form of a patch or a lollipop. When fentanyl is used to strengthen the addictive properties of other drugs, it is being used illegally and dangerously and was likely created illegally in a lab.

Concerningly, fentanyl has become one of the leading drivers of the opioid crisis in the United States. It’s been linked to countless overdose deaths and is often found cut into meth or other street drugs without the user’s knowledge.

How To Identify Fentanyl-Laced Meth

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You may be wondering how to identify meth laced with fentanyl. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to tell if meth has been laced with fentanyl, as the two drugs look similar and it is easy for manufacturers to mix them without buyers knowing. However, if a person suspects that their meth might be contaminated with fentanyl, they should exercise extreme caution by obtaining a medical test or seeking medical help immediately, as ingesting meth that is laced with fentanyl can lead to overdose and death.

In recent years, different ways to test for fentanyl have been developed. One popular way is through the use of fentanyl test strips. These test strips are placed in a solution containing meth and then heated. If fentanyl is present, the strip will change color to indicate the presence of the drug. While taking meth is not advisable, many people will continue to do this drug despite the risks. In those cases, this method can help those who are using meth to know if their meth has been contaminated with fentanyl.

Another way to identify meth that is laced with fentanyl is by observing how it affects a person’s body. Usually, meth that is not laced with fentanyl will produce effects such as a rush of energy and euphoria. However, when meth has been mixed with fentanyl, users may experience more intense effects such as nausea, sweating, confusion, and extreme drowsiness. It is important to be aware of these signs and get help immediately if someone experiences them while using meth.

Drug Abuse in Kansas City, Missouri

Recently, the opioid crisis in Kansas City, Missouri has begun to produce devastating effects in many communities. One such community that has seen an uptick in opioid deaths coupled with a lack of access to treatment is the Black community in Kansas City.

In a recent investigative report conducted by NPR’s Kansas City subsidiary, KCUR, the opioid epidemic in Kansas City primarily affected rural and mostly-white neighborhoods in the past.

The report concluded that in the past five years, however, the number of overdose deaths in urban areas, specifically in Black neighborhoods, has skyrocketed.

The spread of meth laced with fentanyl—and other drugs—indicates that the opioid epidemic is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. Fortunately, there is hope as local governments begin to find ways to address the issue.

Missouri’s Response to the Overdose Crisis

In response to the rise in overdose deaths across Missouri and within Kansas City, Missouri has launched a public dashboard to keep track of drug overdose deaths. The statistics from the dashboard show information specific to demographic information related to overdose deaths, fatal and nonfatal overdoses, and where overdoses are occurring.

The state of Missouri hopes that this information will lead to the development of more intervention services and resources in areas that are seeing large numbers of overdose deaths. The dashboard also helps to inform public health policies in the state and provides insight into the communities that are most affected by meth and fentanyl-laced overdoses.

Addiction Treatment for Methamphetamine Abuse

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In the wake of rising meth use, it is critical to recognize the need for effective addiction treatment programs. For those struggling with meth abuse, there are many treatment options available. This includes residential treatment centers where individuals can stay for an extended period of time to receive medically supervised care.

During treatment, patients in an addiction treatment center gain the benefit of attending therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), individual therapy, group therapy, and family counseling programs. The goal of these therapeutic interventions is to identify underlying issues that may have contributed to meth use or to develop new coping strategies. Through therapy, patients can better process emotions and build a toolkit of techniques that can help them identify triggers and manage cravings.

Recovering from Meth Addiction with Sana Lake BWC

At Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center,  meth addiction treatment includes both medical and non-medical approaches. Our meth addiction treatment program is tailored to meet the individual needs of each patient and can include inpatient care, outpatient care, or a combination of these services based on each person’s unique situation.

During treatment, individuals at Sana Lake BWC receive a comprehensive assessment to determine their clinical and medical needs. We use evidence-based practices to create an individualized meth addiction treatment plan that takes into consideration the particular severity of meth abuse, any co-occurring disorders, the patient’s age, and gender, as well as their goals for recovery.

Our meth addiction treatment plans are highly effective in helping patients achieve sobriety and develop the skills they need to stay sober. To learn more about what we can do for you or your loved one, contact us today.