Fentanyl Addiction Treatment Center
Fentanyl addiction can be devastating. Many people start abusing fentanyl as a result of a prescription, that soon becomes a dependency. Sometimes individuals get a hold of fentanyl on the streets as a way to score a greater high then other opiates. Either way, fentanyl is devastating communities with its potency and availability.
If you or someone you know is dealing with an addiction to fentanyl or similar opiates, you should look for appropriate addiction treatment. Read on to learn more about fentanyl.
What is a Synthetic Opioid?
A synthetic opioid is basically a non-naturally occurring substance that has related effects to the naturally occurring opium poppy plant. This gives them their opiate-like effects. The poppy plant has long been used for medical purposes (morphine) and non-medical purposes (heroin).
Fentanyl is one of the more well-known synthetic opioids. Since it was discovered in the 1960s, it was only used for surgery, but in the 1990s an extended-release patch was created for the treatment of chronic pain. However, even as more and more different types of prescription versions of fentanyl have been created, it has never been a major factor in the supply of fentanyl in the illegal drug market.
Currently, there are different types of fentanyl compounds that are created in illicit labs. Not much is known about these types of fentanyl, other than the fact that the strength can vary greatly. This type of fentanyl is often used as a cutting agent in other illegal drugs like cocaine and heroin, because of its strength. Unfortunately, many users are unaware that they are taking fentanyl and the consequences can/have been life-threatening.
What are Common Effects of Synthetic Opioids Like Fentanyl?
Opioids are widely researched and well understood. Generally speaking, the effects are pain relief and sedation. But there is also a list of other “not so pleasant” side effects.
- Respiratory depression
- Lowered blood pressure
- Shallow breathing
- Dry mouth
Fentanyl works like other opioids by block pain receptors in the brain. However, fentanyl is one of the strongest opiate-based pain relievers that is approved for medical use. Its use was approved for chronic pain patients that were not getting any relief from other opioid pain medication like morphine.
This also means that extremely small doses can be effective in pain relief. In the case of individuals using the drug recreationally, this means it only takes a small amount to go from a pleasant high to an overdose.
Does this mean that Fentanyl is Similar to Prescription Painkillers or Heroin?
Opiates are different in a few ways.
- What form the drug takes (powder, pill, liquid)
- How strong they are
- What are the effects? How long do they last?
- The potential for addiction
- Whether the way they are produced leads to predictable results
Prescription painkillers are highly regulated in production and therefore their results are very consistent and predictable. We know that a dose of 5 milligrams of quick-release oxycodone will relieve moderate pain, and 120 milligrams of extended-release oxycodone will help treat severe pain.
Heroin is not regulated, therefore there is no predictable pattern for how it will affect a user. Strength can vary greatly. This is even more true with batches of heroin that are laced with unregulated batches of fentanyl. People will often take much more than necessary because they are unaware that the heroin is laced with an intensely strong synthetic opiate. If though the risk is still present with regular heroin, it is, even more, a factor when the drug is laced with fentanyl.
Overdosing Due to Exposure to Fentanyl
As stated earlier, people who are at the highest risk of overdosing are individuals who are unaware that they are consuming fentanyl. In January of 2016, the CDC reported that the number of opioid deaths had increased 200% from 2000 to 2014. 80% of those deaths were fentanyl-related from 2013-2014.
If a person does not overdose from their exposure fentanyl-laced heroin, their tolerance will inevitably become lowered. This will cause the addict to seek out larger doses of the substance looking to get the same high. This behavior could cause the addict to be introduced to even stronger batches that could be laced with stronger fentanyl or consider trying different methods of using (previously they smoked the drug, now they are looking to inject).
Either way, the exposure to fentanyl causes a destructive path in a person’s life. a
Does This Mean Prescribed Fentanyl Can Be Risky?
In its prescribed, regulated form, no there is little to no risk. It is often a very safe and effective pain reliever. Fatal overdose of prescribed fentanyl is extremely rare. The sharp increase of overdose that relates to fentanyl is mostly from non-pharmaceutical grade, illegal fentanyl.
Fentanyl, in its regulated form, has a quick onset and shorter duration of effects. There is only a small amount of research to suggest that because of this people will use the drug compulsively and risk overdose. The risk of overdose is highest when someone accidentally ingests fentanyl as it is laced with heroin or another drug. Most people are not actively looking for a stronger more intense high from fentanyl.
How Common is Actual Fentanyl Addiction?
It is hard to tell since most people do not realize that they are in fact addicted to fentanyl. Generally, someone becomes addicted to fentanyl by first using another opioid like heroin and continuously looks for a greater high. In the early 2000s, fentanyl was being brought into the country by being created in Mexican labs, then laced with heroin.
There have also been reports of counterfeit oxycodone pills that are made in Mexico that are actually fentanyl as well. These pills are roughly 50-100 stronger than the dose of oxycodone they are made to look like.
Addiction Treatment for Fentanyl. Where to Look for Help
As with most opioids, fentanyl addiction is time sensitive. It requires immediate attention and comprehensive treatment. Whether treatment is for you or a loved one, you should look into your treatment options very carefully. Often, for any type of opioid addiction, detox will be medically necessary to break the physical withdrawal symptoms. Afterward, the individual will need either a residential or outpatient treatment plan. While residential treatment is usually recommended for fentanyl addiction, it may not be a feasible option.
It is important you take into account all of the options available to you. Speak with family and friends and discuss what treatment would work best for you. You should also speak with an addiction treatment specialist to discuss in more detail.
Don’t waste another moment doubting if you’ve got what it takes to successfully and permanently beat addiction. Our compassionate professionals can help you find new strength as you develop a solid recovery foundation. Take the first step toward a new life. Contact Crest View Recovery Center today at 866.986.1371.