Fentanyl is the most powerful narcotic opioid available for pain management in the United States. It comes in a variety of forms, and in both immediate and controlled release formulations. Fentanyl is about 100 times more potent than morphine. It is praised for its efficacy in relieving pain that cannot be managed by other opioid painkillers. Fentanyl is expressly unintended for those who are opioid-naive. It is also not for those who have an established tolerance to other potent painkillers. Although it is available through prescriptions, the black market is where Fentanyl does the most damage. Consequently, Fentanyl addiction kills hundreds of people every year.
Forms of Fentanyl and Abuse
Like any other opioid, Fentanyl attaches to the opioid receptor in the brain. It causes a flood of dopamine to stimulate the reward center, which results in a euphoric feeling. Although Fentanyl is strictly regulated, a great deal of this drug finds its way to the streets. It also ends up in the hands of people who will ultimately use it non-medically.
There are a number of different forms of Fentanyl, which include:
Duragesic Skin Patch
- This patch is for around-the-clock pain management and it contains a large amount of Fentanyl. Individuals chew the patch to get a full dose of the gel-like form of Fentanyl inside. The patch also releases more medication with high body temperature. That’s why so many individuals will sit in a sauna or hot tub, sunbathe, or do whatever they can to raise body temperature.
- The lozenge form of Fentanyl treats breakthrough pain (sudden periods of pain despite around-the-clock pain management). Fentanyl lollipops (a common name since they come in berry flavor) are most effective when held in the mouth, on the inside of the cheek, and allowed to dissolve there. Aside from non-medical use, this formulation of Fentanyl is most effective when consumed as directed, and has less bio-availability when chewed and swallowed.
Lazanda Fentanyl Nasal Spray
- This nasal spray treats breakthrough pain in opioid-tolerant cancer patients aged 18 and over. It has a very high bio-availability, as it is ingested through the nasal cavity. Any drug that is snorted gets to the brain very quickly, This is the purpose of Lazanda nasal spray. Lazanda nasal spray is dangerous if not used exactly as directed. But, it is generally difficult to obtain. Prescriptions are monitored to ensure the safest medical practices.
Fentanyl Film, Sublingual, and Buccal Tablets
- Fentanyl film, sublingual, and buccal tablets are all intended to dissolve on the inside of the mouth, and have immediate action to treat breakthrough pain. All three of these formulations of Fentanyl are most effective when dissolved in the mouth, and are more commonly prescribed than Lazanda nasal spray. Abuse of these forms of Fentanyl is common among those for whom they are prescribed and those who get them on the black market and from friends and family members.
- Duragesic Skin Patch
Fentanyl does have the same effects as other opioids such as:
- Shallow breathing
- Lowered heart rate
- Dry mouth
- Extreme euphoria
- Constricted (pinpoint) pupils
- Muscle weakness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
When Fentanyl is abused, its effects can become deadly because of its potency. Individuals who use the drug that has not be prescribed to them are at an increased risk of overdose. Many who attempt to use Fentanyl in this way end up in emergency rooms. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the number of ER admissions from non-medical use of Fentanyl increased from 11,211 in 2005 to 20,945 in 2009.
Fentanyl is also commonly used to cut heroin for a more potent product. Many heroin addicts may be aware of the possibility of Fentanyl being present in heroin they buy. But, there is no way to know how much is present. Countless addicts suffer from fatal overdoses for this reason. Fentanyl used in this manner is typically obtained through theft from pharmacies, nursing homes, and fraudulent prescriptions. Additionally, clandestine laboratories have emerged, mostly in Mexico, which produce large quantities of this potent drug. They export it primarily to the United States, where painkiller addiction has been a growing and profitable epidemic.
Fentanyl Addiction and Withdrawal
Fentanyl addiction is identical to that of individuals who are addicted to any other drug. Although Fentanyl is more powerful than any other painkiller, it is also more potent than heroin. This makes it extremely dangerous when it is used non-medically. As with any other painkiller and heroin, Fentanyl produces a physical and psychological dependence. This causes severe withdrawal symptoms when it is not being used. Accordingly, addicts will do anything to ensure they have enough Fentanyl to last them through the day and night. They want to avoid the uncomfortable and painful withdrawal symptoms.
Since it is difficult to get Fentanyl products without doctors and physicians who are willing to risk their medical license to prescribe it fraudulently, most addicts who use it non-medically do so through the risky and illegal means of drug dealers. Once Fentanyl addiction develops, an individual will do unthinkable things to maintain his or her habit, and risking safety and freedom is part of the everyday hustle for many.
Fentanyl Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms
The dangers of obtaining Fentanyl or any drug through dealers are that an individual never knows what he or she may really be getting. When using dealers to get Fentanyl, which can come from a clandestine lab with various additives that may be deadly, addicts may be getting far more than they bargained for, and suffer deadly consequences as a result.
Because Fentanyl is a fast and short-acting opioid, withdrawal symptoms from this drug tend to come on quickly, in a few hours after the last dose.
Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms are the same as any other opioid or opiate, and include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- High fever
- High blood pressure
- Dilated pupils
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle pain and spasms
- Intense cravings
- Cold sweats
In a medical setting when an individual is ready to come off of Fentanyl, a doctor will typically taper down the dose in gradients. However, the symptoms are excruciating and deter an addict from completing the withdrawal process. For this reason, Fentanyl detoxification is medically supervised.
There are other reasons for a medically supervised Fentanyl detox include:
- Staff offers support and encouragement to complete the detoxification.
- The individual is safe and comfortable throughout the process.
- There is no access to drugs of any kind by the individual undergoing detox, and this drastically minimizes the occurrence of relapse prior to complete detox.
After Fentanyl Addiction Detox
Of course, detox is only the first step. Rehab is the next step in treatment. Even for individuals who have taken Fentanyl as directed per their prescription, long-term use of any drug requires a routine of taking the drug, feeling the effects, and doing so at certain times throughout the day, for an extended period of time. In fact, the sudden change from using Fentanyl every day (or several times a day, to not using it at all, can take some getting used to. Fortunately, rehabilitation programs and counseling are valuable tools in assisting with that transition.
Benefits of Professional Treatment
For individuals who struggle with Fentanyl addiction, professional treatment is necessary, as Fentanyl detox does nothing to address the vital issues that contribute to the continuation of addictive behaviors.
Equally important, some of the other issues addressed in addiction treatment include:
- Addressing underlying issues, trauma, and pain that may have contributed to the addiction.
- Understanding unconscious triggers (such as people, places, and things), that may jeopardize sobriety from Fentanyl.
- Understanding of how addiction works, and how to recognize dangerous situations that may trigger a relapse.
- Development of friendships and support groups which are conducive to helping in maintaining sobriety and recovery from addiction.
- Learning survival and coping skills to avoid relapse in stressful or painful situations in life.
The process of an effective addiction treatment program should be one in which an individual can heal at his or her own pace. Likewise, the environment is also important. The person should feel comfortable and be accompanied by people with similar struggles and goals. Individualized healing is the most effective form of treatment since. In other words, one approach will not work for every addict. Based on the needs, preferences, and belief system of each individual, addiction treatment should be unique to each person, for a personalized approach to healing.
Why You Need A Forever Recovery
At A Forever Recovery, we understand the individual challenges, strengths, and goals of each person who walks through our doors. Therefore, we implement a results-based program that has no time constraints. Also, we want to ensure that each person has the time he or she needs to accomplish their goals.
Obviously, Fentanyl addiction is progressive, and will not let up until treatment is received. Please don’t wait for more devastation. Addiction treatment works when it is designed around you. Call now.