Drug and Alcohol - Opioid Addiction

Fentanyl: Understanding Fentanyl Addiction and Seeking Fentanyl Treatment

Understanding the Facts About Fentanyl Addiction

Fentanyl is one of the deadliest drugs out there. This synthetic opioid is a chief driver of the overdose epidemic. Learn more in our blog.

For some, it provides relief from extreme pain.

For others, it's what killed them.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid drug that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 30 to 50 times more powerful than heroin. It was originally developed for medical use as a pain reliever and anesthetic, but its highly addictive nature has led to widespread abuse and addiction.

The rise in fentanyl abuse can be attributed to its cheap production costs and potency, making it a highly profitable drug for dealers. It is often mixed with other drugs such as heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine without the user's knowledge, increasing the risk of overdosing.

Fentanyl Addiction by the Numbers:

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, consumers have increasingly turned to synthetic opioids such as Fentanyl in recent years. According to the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the nation's main anti-drug organization, Fentanyl is "primarily responsible for fueling the ongoing opioid crisis."

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is employed as a pain reliever. It is also termed opioid analgesic, which operates in the brain to change the dynamic functioning of the body towards pain. It can disrupt pain receptors and increase dopamine production in the body, a hormone and neurotransmitter used in the body’s reward system.

Prescription fentanyl is a form of synthetic opioid authorized to address severe discomfort and pain, notably in critical cancer patients. However, most fentanyl abused by people is made in clandestine labs and distributed on the streets. Recent statistics have pointed toward the illicit production of Fentanyl as the main cause of its overconsumption and increased fatalities.

Fentanyl’s lethality comes from its strength: fentanyl is between 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine.

Does Fentanyl Have Trade Names?

Prescription fentanyl is prescribed under a variety of names:

  • Lazanda: This version of fentanyl is exploited in the form of nasal spray, mainly used to cure discomfort in cancer patients. 

  • Actiq: Actiq is another brand of fentanyl that is distributed as a tablet and then ingested after putting it under the tongue to address serious and inherent pain.   

  • Duragesic: Duragesic is a form of fentanyl patch that the FDA approved to ease mild to serious discomfort that is persistent in a patient. 

  • Sublimaze: Sublimaze is prescribed to patients in combination with general anesthesia before and after operations/surgeries to help lessen the pain. 

  • Abstral: Abstral is administered as a fast-dissolving capsule for controlling acute discomfort or intense pain flare-ups, regardless of whether patients continuously take painkillers.

Many drug trafficking groups mix fentanyl with drugs such as benzos, ecstasy/MDMA, meth, coke, and heroin to make their supplies last longer and boost the effects of the drug. Unfortunately, this combination is particularly hazardous for individuals whose systems are not familiar with the potential of polysubstance drug consumption.

As a result, many people are unaware of its dangerous effects and take it in large quantities, resulting in lethal overdoses. 

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What Happens When Someone Uses Fentanyl?

When someone uses fentanyl, they experience a euphoric high similar to heroin but much more intense and short-lived. The effects can be felt within minutes of ingestion or inhalation and can last for several hours.

However, along with the pleasurable effects, fentanyl also causes dangerous side effects such as sedation, confusion, respiratory depression, and even coma. These effects can be even more severe when fentanyl is mixed with other drugs or alcohol.

Repeated use of fentanyl leads to tolerance, meaning the user needs to take higher doses to achieve the same high. This quickly leads to dependence and addiction, as the user's body and brain become reliant on the drug to function normally.

Signs of Fentanyl Addiction

Recognizing signs of fentanyl addiction can be crucial in getting help for yourself or a loved one. Some common signs to look out for include:

  • Increased tolerance, needing higher doses to experience the same effects

  • Unsuccessful attempts to cut back or stop using fentanyl

  • Spending a lot of time and money obtaining and using the drug

  • Neglecting responsibilities at work, school, or home

  • Changes in behavior, such as becoming secretive, irritable, or withdrawn

  • Physical signs such as constricted pupils, drowsiness, and difficulty breathing

If you or someone you know is showing these signs, it's important to seek help immediately. Fentanyl addiction can quickly lead to overdose and death without proper treatment.

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Understanding Fentanyl Addiction

Fentanyl addiction is a serious problem that can have deadly consequences. This powerful opioid produces feelings of euphoria and relaxation, making it highly addictive for those who use it. The brain quickly becomes dependent on the drug, resulting in cravings and withdrawal symptoms when use is stopped.

Many people become addicted to fentanyl after being prescribed the medication by a doctor for legitimate reasons. However, as tolerance builds, they may turn to illicit sources to obtain more of the drug, leading to addiction.

What Is Fentanyl Withdrawal Like?

Fentanyl withdrawal can be a difficult and uncomfortable experience, but it is a necessary step in recovering from addiction. Withdrawal symptoms typically start within a few hours of the last dose and can last for several days or weeks.

Some common fentanyl withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea

  • Muscle and bone pain

  • Anxiety and restlessness

  • Insomnia and sleep disturbances

  • Cold sweats and chills

  • Changes in blood pressure and heart rate

It's important to seek medical assistance when going through fentanyl withdrawal, as it can be dangerous and even life-threatening. Medical professionals can provide medications and support to manage the symptoms and ensure a safe detox process.

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How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in the System?

The length of time that fentanyl stays in the system can vary depending on various factors, including dosage, frequency of use, and individual metabolism. In general, fentanyl can be detected in urine for 2-3 days after last use and in blood for up to 24 hours.

However, it's important to note that traces of fentanyl may still show up in drug tests even after the effects of the drug have worn off. This is because fentanyl can be stored in fat cells and released slowly over time.

Fentanyl and Drug Tests

Here's how long fentanyl can be detected in various drug tests:

  • Urine Test for Fentanyl: 2-3 days

  • Blood Test for Fentanyl: Up to 24 hours

  • Saliva Test for Fentanyl: Up to 4 days

  • Hair Follicle Test for Fentanyl: Up to 90 days

While drug tests are an effective method of detecting fentanyl use, they are not always accurate. False positives and false negatives can occur.

How to Tell if You Need Fentanyl Addiction Treatment?

If you or someone you know shows any of these traits or indicators of fentanyl dependency, it is probably necessary to seek help:

  • Participating in a reckless activity or utilizing Fentanyl in unsafe settings

  • Trying unsuccessfully to stop taking Fentanyl

  • Feeling compelled to utilize additional Fentanyl than is recommended

  • Overusing Fentanyl in manners that a doctor did not authorize

  • Realizing that your drug dependency has interfered with your employment, school, or personal life

  • You devote much of your day looking for, obtaining, and consuming fentanyl

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When Should I Seek Help for Fentanyl Addiction?

If you or someone you know is struggling with fentanyl addiction, it's important to seek help as soon as possible. Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease that only gets worse over time without proper treatment.

Some signs that it's time to seek help for fentanyl addiction include:

  • Being unable to stop using despite wanting to

  • Experiencing negative consequences (e.g. legal, financial, relationship) due to fentanyl use

  • Unable to function without using fentanyl

  • Continuous increase in dosage to achieve the desired effects

Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength and courage, not weakness. Breaking free from addiction is possible with the right support and treatment. Don't wait until it's too late – seek help for fentanyl addiction today. Your life is worth it.

Coping with Fentanyl Addiction

Recovery from fentanyl addiction can be challenging, but there are coping strategies that can help make the process easier. Here are some tips to cope with fentanyl addiction:

  • Build a support network of friends, family, and professionals who understand and support your recovery journey.

  • Find healthy ways to cope with stress, such as exercise, meditation, or creative outlets.

  • Avoid triggers and situations that may tempt you to use fentanyl again.

  • Practice self-care and prioritize your physical and mental well-being.

  • Be patient with yourself and celebrate small victories in your recovery journey.

Remember that everyone's recovery journey is different and what works for one person may not work for another. Find what works best for you and stay committed to your recovery.

How to Seek Fentanyl Treatment? 

While substance or fentanyl abuse is a complex and critical disease, it can also be managed and treated. It is vital to comprehend that many individuals suffer from drug addiction and that you are not alone in this fight. After you believe that treatment is attainable, you should seek treatment against fentanyl addiction at a reputable drug rehab center. 

Drug Detox

The treatment starts with medical detoxification, which is the crucial stage of the recovery journey. Unfortunately, during this stage, many patients relapse and start abusing medications to feel better again. However, this mainly happens when the sufferer is undertaking detoxification at home which is highly risky. Therefore, considering residential rehab for this process is wise as it will offer round-the-clock supervision and medical guidance to reduce relapse chances. 

Mental Health Treatment

Medically-induced and mental health treatment can be extremely beneficial in assisting persons in recovering from fentanyl dependency and resuming their everyday activities. In addition, people struggling with opiate addiction can acquire support by using residential or out-of-hospital programs based on the person's circumstances and the extent or duration of the addiction. Such programs are intended to assist individuals in overcoming drug cravings, achieving sobriety, and receiving continued support once treatment is completed.

Among the methods to address fentanyl addiction are:

  • Behavioral and cognitive therapy

  • Residential or inpatient care

  • Outpatient treatment

  • Prescribed medications

  • Therapy and support groups 

What Is Being Treated for Fentanyl Addiction Like?

Being treated for fentanyl addiction involves a holistic approach that addresses the physical, psychological, and emotional aspects of addiction. This may include:

  • Medical detoxification to safely manage withdrawal symptoms

  • Therapy to address underlying issues and develop coping mechanisms

  • Support groups for peer support and ongoing assistance

  • Medications to help with cravings and prevent relapse

Treatment programs can vary in length and intensity, depending on individual needs. It's important to find a treatment program that best fits your needs and offers ongoing support for long-term recovery.

Life After Fentanyl Addiction

Recovery from fentanyl addiction is an ongoing process, but with proper treatment and support, you can lead a fulfilling life free from the grip of this dangerous drug. Some tips for maintaining sobriety and building a healthy, drug-free life include:

  • Surround yourself with positive influences and continue to build a strong support network.

  • Find healthy outlets for stress and emotions.

  • Engage in activities that bring joy and fulfillment into your life.

  • Practice self-care and prioritize your well-being.

  • Stay vigilant about avoiding triggers and situations that may tempt you to use fentanyl again.

Remember, recovery is a journey and not a destination. Stay committed to your sobriety and never be afraid to ask for help when needed. You are capable of overcoming fentanyl addiction and creating a better life for yourself. Don't let this drug control you – take back control and live your best life in recovery. And always remember, there is hope and healing after fentanyl addiction.

Stay strong, stay focused, and keep moving forward toward a brighter future.

The Edge Treatment Center Provides Evidence-Based Addiction Care for Fentanyl and Other Opioids

If you or a loved one is struggling with fentanyl addiction, The Edge Treatment Center can help. Our evidence-based treatment programs are specifically designed to address the complex needs of individuals struggling with fentanyl and other opioid addictions.

Our team of compassionate professionals will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan that meets your unique needs and provides ongoing support for lasting recovery. Don't wait any longer – reach out to The Edge Treatment Center today and take the first step towards a better tomorrow. Recovery is possible, and we are here to help you achieve it.

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If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, there is hope. Our team can guide you on your journey to recovery. Call us today.

Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Drug and Alcohol

Opioid Addiction

November 3, 2023