Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate pain reliever and is prescribed to patients with severe, chronic pain or after surgery. It is a fast acting pain reliever; however, it can be very addictive. Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and is even stronger than heroin. Although it works fast to reduce pain in the body, the effects don’t last very long. Patients who take this drug can experience a state of euphoria and may abuse it to achieve the same feelings on a regular basis. People can become dependent or develop a fentanyl addiction if they were using it after surgery or if they are around the drug a lot and have easy access to it, such as working in a hospital.
Fentanyl is sometimes mixed with other drugs, such as heroin or cocaine, to achieve even stronger effects; combining fentanyl with other drugs is very dangerous. While prescriptions of fentanyl are made to release its effects over time for safe consumption, many users speed up the process by adding heat to their fentanyl, which can lead to overdose.
Signs and Symptoms of Fentanyl Addiction and Abuse
Knowing if you or a loved one is abusing fentanyl can be hard to tell, but there are common signs and symptoms that a person is abusing fentanyl and once these are known, detecting it in someone can be easy. The signs and symptoms of fentanyl abuse include:
Itching and scratching
Nausea and vomiting
Dizziness and fainting
Slowed or altered heart rate
Additionally, fentanyl can cause a person to lose consciousness, be in a coma and can even lead to death. If you recognize any of the above signs and symptoms in yourself or a loved one, seek help immediately.
The Effects of Fentanyl
Long-term fentanyl abuse can lead to several unwanted and severe physical and mental side effects. These effects include:
Severe gastrointestinal problems
Weakened immune system
Lack of motivation
Delusions and personality changes
Treatment for Fentanyl Abuse
To recover from fentanyl addiction or abuse, it is vital that the appropriate treatment is found and used. Drug addiction treatments typically involve several components but start with a detox. During the detox, patients can experience some uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, which is why it is important to do a detox under professional care and not try to do it on one’s own. The withdrawal symptoms one may experience include:
Joint and muscle pain
Loss of appetite
Shaking and tremors
Statistics of Fentanyl Abuse
Fentanyl is a dangerous and very addictive substance if misused. The following statistics can shed some light on the dangers of the drug:
Between 2005 and 2007, fentanyl abuse resulted in more than 1,000 deaths in the US, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
People who are addicted to opiate painkillers are 40 times more likely to become addicted to heroin, according to a report by the CDC.
The DEA stated that there are over 12 varieties of drugs that have been produced in labs to resemble fentanyl.
Nurses and anesthesiologists have a higher chance of abusing fentanyl than the general public, according to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) Journal.
Additionally, teens are also at risk of abusing fentanyl. Even though they are rarely prescribed the drug, they can still get access to a parent or friend’s prescription. It is important to keep fentanyl secured in a location that isn’t easily accessible by others. Fentanyl is also sold on the streets in powder form under names such as Apache, China Girl, China White, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfella, Jackpot, Murder 8, TNT and Tango and Cash.
To help prevent teens from abusing fentanyl, the best thing you can do is to have an honest and open discussion with them and give them truthful information about fentanyl and its effects. Additionally, keeping medicines in a locked location, keeping tabs on the amount of fentanyl you have and being aware of any mention of the street names are all ways you can help prevent your teen from using and abusing fentanyl.
Finding Treatment for Fentanyl
Each rehab is different as each addict is different. Finding the right rehab center for you or your loved one is a key factor in having a successful recovery and not every rehab facility is the same. At Behavioral Rehabilitation Services, drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation program adapts to each client’s needs and wants. If you or a loved one are struggling with a fentanyl addiction, we encourage you to contact us today to speak confidentially with one of our treatment advisors to see how we can help you.