Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 100 times more powerful than morphine, has become one of the most common drugs involved in overdose deaths in the United States. A recent study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that fentanyl contributed to 59 percent of opioid-related deaths.
Originally created and used about 50 years ago primarily to treat severe pain after surgery,
fentanyl is also highly addictive. Even when prescribed by a doctor and obtained from a pharmacy, fentanyl can become addictive in a matter of days. And with illegally produced fentanyl, which is often stronger, there is a high risk that addiction will take hold even sooner.
Fentanyl works by blocking pain receptors in the brain and increasing production of the dopamine. Users only need small amounts to experience feelings of euphoria and pleasure, because it is so strong. That’s one reason why drug dealers often mix fentanyl with meth, heroin, cocaine or other illegal drugs to produce a less-expensive product that is still very powerful. However, this leads many users to take fentanyl without even knowing it – and the chances of overdose increase because they don’t realize they are taking such a strong opioid.
When prescribed by a doctor, fentanyl is normally administered as a patch, a shot or a lozenge. Some of the more common brands of legal fentanyl include:
Fentanyl that is illegally produced in drug labs is commonly distributed as a powder, in nasal sprays or eye droppers, or as pills that have been shaped to look like common prescription pills. On the street, fentanyl is known as China Girl, Apache, Tango & Cash, Dance Fever, Jackpot, King Ivory, and more.
Slurred speech, confusion, blurred vision, nausea, drowsiness and slowed breathing are just some of the symptoms of an addiction to fentanyl. Regular users are likely to also show signs of typical drug-addicted behavior – cravings, compulsive use and impaired judgement.
Other behavioral signs and symptoms of fentanyl addiction include:
If someone uses fentanyl regularly, their body builds up a tolerance and they often begin taking more of the drug to get the same experience. When this happens, full-blown addiction can develop rapidly.
Fentanyl abuse has profound physical and psychological effects. Depending on how often you use fentanyl, and how much you use, it may be very difficult for you to overcome your addiction without the help of a fully supervised medical detox program. The withdrawal symptoms can be severe, and even from the first day of drug rehab you are likely to experience anxiety, agitation, sweating, aches and pains, and general restless and tiredness.
As your detox continues, your symptoms may become more severe as you experience spasms, nausea, vomiting, cramping and diarrhea. And if you’ve been using fentanyl for a long time, and you’ve developed a strong dependence, you could potentially experience more severe symptoms such as seizures, heart issues and other serious issues.
At Golden Peak Recovery, our medical staff is trained to know just what you need to get through detox when withdrawal is this intense. We provide clinical assistance to help ease the symptoms, with medications such as buprenorphine, naltrexone and methadone that have been successful in decreasing cravings for fentanyl and countering the effects of withdrawal. You have our team’s full support around-the-clock to ensure your detox is as safe and comfortable as possible.
After detox, our counselors and therapists introduce a variety of behavioral therapy modalities designed to identify and address any underlying mental health disorders that could be contributing to your addiction. One-on-one sessions, group therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and other therapy treatments help you understand the roots of your addiction to fentanyl and provide you with the coping mechanisms and life skills you need to beat your fentanyl addiction for good.