In recent years, the opioid epidemic has garnered significant attention, and rightfully so. With increasing numbers of overdoses and deaths attributed to opioids like fentanyl, awareness and education efforts have surged. However, a newer threat has emerged, one that combines the potent power of opioids with a commonly used recreational drug – marijuana. At PACE Recovery, we believe it’s crucial to shine a light on the alarming trend of fentanyl-laced marijuana and its repercussions, especially among young adults.
1. What Is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is extremely potent and addictive. Initially developed as a hospital-grade analgesic, this drug is now infamous for its high rates of overdose and accidental death among users, especially when taken outside a medical setting.
2. Fentanyl-Laced Marijuana: A Deadly Combination
The illicit drug market is unpredictable and dangerous. To create a more potent high or increase the weight and profitability of the drug they sell, dealers might lace marijuana with fentanyl. Often, people have no idea they are consuming this dangerous drug, leading to an alarming rise in accidental overdoses and fentanyl poisoning.
3. Why Young Adults Are at Risk
Young adults are particularly vulnerable to the allure and dangers of drugs. Their quest for novel experiences – coupled with a developing brain that can underestimate risks and overvalue rewards – places them in the crosshairs of substance-related threats like fentanyl-laced marijuana.
- Lack of awareness: Since so many states have legalized marijuana for medical and recreational use, many young adults believe pot is relatively harmless. The potential presence of fentanyl might not be on their radar at all.
- Potency mismatch: Due to fentanyl’s incredible potency, even a small amount mixed with marijuana can be lethal, especially for someone with no opioid tolerance.
- Unpredictability: Since fentanyl is tasteless and odorless, you can’t use your five senses to determine if marijuana and other substances have fentanyl in them. This uncertainty adds a layer of danger every time.
4. Beyond Fentanyl: Other Dangers of Marijuana Use
While the addition of fentanyl to marijuana is a recent and growing concern, marijuana use among young adults also presents other risks.
- Addiction: Contrary to common misconceptions, marijuana can be addictive. About 9% of people who use marijuana will become dependent on it. This number increases to about 17% for those who start using it in their teens.
- Psychosis: High-potency strains of marijuana can lead to psychosis, which includes hallucinations and paranoia. There’s also evidence suggesting that regular marijuana use can increase the risk of developing chronic psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia, in those predisposed to mental illnesses.
5. PACE Recovery’s Stance
At PACE Recovery, we inform and assist young adults in navigating the complex challenges of substance use and addiction. Understanding the risks, including threats like fentanyl-laced marijuana, is a crucial step in prevention.
Seeking help is imperative for young adults struggling with marijuana use, whether it’s due to addiction or the adverse effects of substances like fentanyl. Early intervention can be the key to recovery and prevention of long-term health issues or potential tragedies.
Tackling the Threat of Fentanyl-Laced Marijuana
In the ever-evolving landscape of substance use, staying informed is our first defense. Recognizing the risks of fentanyl-laced marijuana and understanding the broader dangers of marijuana use are crucial steps in protecting our young adults. At PACE Recovery, we’re here to offer guidance, support and treatment options tailored to your unique needs. If you struggle with your mental and behavioral health, please reach out. Your path to recovery and wellness starts with a single step.