Fentanyl overdose makes life saving drug harder to administer

Life-saving window closes quickly with fentanyl

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The powerful opioid fentanyl is making it harder to save people who overdose.

22News spoke with recovering addicts who’ve lost love ones to fentanyl.

The anti-overdose drug naloxone does save lives. But 22News found out a fentanyl overdose can kill a victim before they have a chance to receive that life-saving drug.

The powerful opioid fentanyl acts fast, and users are more likely to use the drug alone according to Michael Botticelli of the Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine. The combination makes it harder to save a person’s life with overdose reversing drug, naloxone.

The life-saving window closes too quickly with fentanyl.

“I’ve had a lot of friends that have died from heroin overdoses, especially fentanyl,” Joanna Amsili of Holyoke told 22News. “I took back my life by coming, and realizing that I have my whole life ahead of me.”

Fentanyl related overdose deaths were on the rise in Massachusetts in 2016, and now health care professionals are concerned about Carfentanil, an extremely potent drug.

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, carfentanil is a synthetic opioid 100 times more potent than fentanyl. Debra Flynn- Gonzalez, program director of the Hope for Holyoke recovery center, said these drugs can be lethal.

“In other parts of the country, really the deaths are very quick, and there’s really no time to do anything about it,” Debra Flynn-Gonzalez of Hope for Holyoke said. “We want to get people into recovery, we want to let them know you don’t have to take that chance it’s like playing Russian roulette.”

Carfentanil was found in Massachusetts for the first time earlier this month.