Fentanyl is one of the more frequently used synthetic opioids in a medical setting, designed for patients experiencing significant pain and who are not able to control their pain with weaker painkillers. The drug is often used intravenously in hospitals and operating rooms, and in a patch form for cancer patients to get a slow-release dose over a period of days.
Recently fentanyl has been showing up in the news due to its appearance in street heroin. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that the death rate from synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, increased by 72.2% from 2014 to 2015. Government agencies keep finding fentanyl and drugs even stronger in batches of street heroin month after month, and numerous users are dying because they do not know what they are consuming – the strength of the drugs in the “heroin” are often much stronger than is standard, resulting in overdoses.
If you or someone you love is addicted to fentanyl, it is extremely important that you seek rehabilitation treatment. Fortunately, there are numerous services available that can help you leave the addiction behind and move on to a better life.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a fully synthetic opioid pain reliever, used for patients who are tolerant of other opioids. Once someone gets to the point where other painkillers are not working, medical doctors will prescribe fentanyl to help manage pain. Typically the patient must be in considerable pain to receive fentanyl, such as those with major back injuries and cancer patients.
How is Fentanyl Abused?
Fentanyl is administered by medical professionals intravenously, through slow-release patches, lozenges, and films that patients take orally. The drug is absorbed rapidly into the system and starts fighting pain almost immediately.
For recreational use, fentanyl may be taken in much the same way that medical patients take it. The recreational user can take the drug intravenously, take the products orally or apply the patch. Most recreational users are not interested in slow-release fentanyl, and will, therefore, scrape the drug off of the patch and smoke it to speed up its entry into their bloodstream.
When it comes to street drugs, most users are not necessarily looking for fentanyl. They are most often looking for heroin, but they have no way of knowing what they are buying from street dealers. Fentanyl is illegally manufactured in places like China and then used to cut street heroin – the illegally manufactured fentanyl is cheap, so the dealer and those behind him/her make more money this way. Unfortunately, it often leads to overdoses and deaths among users.
Effects of Fentanyl Addiction
Fentanyl functions much the same as other opioids, only it is significantly stronger than the majority of other products out there. The drug travels to the opioid receptors in the brain and throughout the body and overloads them to produce euphoria and greatly increase the body’s tolerance for pain. Fentanyl is used by medical professionals because it is very effective – the same reason recreational users seek it out.
Some negative effects of fentanyl include:
Disruption of Brain Function – Depression, Increased Pain, Etc.
Because fentanyl is so effective at overloading the brain’s opioid receptors, the brain stops producing its own opioids. When the drug is not in the body – like when someone comes down, or runs out of fentanyl – the person can become very uncomfortable. Depression is common, and the body may be much more susceptible to pain.
Intravenous Drug Use Issues
For those shooting up fentanyl, all the risks of intravenous drug use apply. HIV and hepatitis transmission are common, as are collapsed and clogged veins – especially when street drugs with unknown cuts are used.
Difficulty Breathing, Coma, Death
Fentanyl suppresses the central nervous system, which can cause difficulty breathing and even cause a person to go into a coma and/or death.
Loss of Sex Drive, Constipation
Opioid use can result in loss of sex drive and/or constipation. While the user may feel good when high, the ability to enjoy other positive things becomes harder and the body can become much less comfortable, especially when one comes down.
Treatment Options For Fentanyl Addiction And Abuse
Fentanyl may be one of the strongest opioid drugs out there, but it is still possible to get clean if you really want to. The same rehabilitation treatments that are effective for other opioid addictions are effective for fentanyl.
Some popular rehab treatments include:
If you are addicted to fentanyl, the initial detox stage is going to be very uncomfortable if you try to do it on your own. Medically assisted detox can make the first few days off of the drug much safer and more comfortable.
Staying at a residential rehabilitation facility for 30 days, 45 days or even longer may be the most straightforward way to quit fentanyl. At an inpatient rehab, you can escape from the environment that enabled your drug use, go through a variety of treatments – including group and individual therapy – and get back on a healthier path.
Once you have finished with a residential program, outpatient services can keep you on track. You can make regular, scheduled visits to group and/or individual therapy to aid you in your sobriety.
Contact Us To Learn More About Fentanyl Rehab
Let our team help you find the right rehab for your recovery. We are standing by to answer your questions and guide you through the process of picking the treatment that will work for your needs.