WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW)– In recent months, the number of overdoses due to fentanyl cases has increased in Sedgwick County. This week KSN’s Andrea Herrera talked with the medical director at Ascension Via Christi, Dr. Howard Chang, about other negative side effects the drug can cause.

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Dr. Chang says the drug is more powerful than morphine. This is why when used correctly it can help patients with severe pain and can help with medical use as well. He says doctors use it frequently in emergency departments. However, when used for negative reasons fentanyl can cause nausea, vomiting, and mood swings. People can also become confused and even develop problems with their bladder.

“If you really overdose too heavily you can go into a coma and go into respiratory failure where the pills suppress your respiratory drive and you basically stop breathing,” Chang said. “A potential example would be if you were to overdose on fentanyl and get revived it doesn’t completely kill you, but your respiratory drive decreases to such a low rate that your brain did not receive enough oxygen, so you could literally become brain death because your brain did not have enough oxygen for a period. Until the fentanyl wore off and that would eventually result in death later.”

Dr. Chang recommends people and kids only take drugs that are prescribed by a doctor and avoid any drugs that are handed to you by friends, family members and strangers.