Fentanyl is extremely potent, highly addictive, and easily disguised as other drugs. All of these factors combine to create a deadly cocktail that many may not even realize they are using until it’s too late.
There are a lot of dangerous drugs on the market being bought and sold every day. Most users are typically aware of what they are putting in their body and are therefore aware of the risks.
However, there is an extra level of danger when a drug is far more powerful than expected while being labeled as something it isn’t. This is the problem that arises with fentanyl.
If you or a loved one are suffering from fentanyl addiction, please call New Life House right away at 888-357-7577 or email us at [email protected] to get more information on how we can help break the cycle of addiction.
What Is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is an FDA approved synthetic opioid used as a painkiller and anesthetic, which is typically prescribed for cancer patients, certain surgeries, nerve damage and trauma for its anesthetic effects. Just as other opioids, such as heroin, fentanyl attaches to the body’s opioid receptors in the brain at a faster rate than most traditional anesthetics. The prescribed drug can raise the levels of dopamine in the brain and result into rewarding feelings, relaxation, and euphoria.
An interview about Fentanyl was done with Cory Brosch, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and Program Director at Clear Recovery Center in Redondo Beach, CA. He specializes in addiction treatment including substance abuse and gaming technology. Brosch mentioned:
“Fentanyl is the most dangerous drug on the market. Most people have no idea the danger they put themselves in and to those around them by using fentanyl for recreational use.”
Fentanyl is among the leading causes of death by overdose in the United States. While it is used for medical purposes, those using it recreationally put their health at risk for lethal outcomes. Fentanyl is obtained legally by a prescription from a medical professional. The drug can either come as patches or be injected via an IV. Fentanyl can also be formed into pills or powdery substance.
Due to its higher potency, drug traffickers use fentanyl to lace other drugs such as:
- Other common opiates and opioids
A small amount of Fentanyl has a stronger high and deadly effect than the drugs listed above, which makes it popular to cut with other opioids, such as heroin.
Fentanyl is becoming an easily accessible drug across the United States, and is making its way to users through some of the following ways:
- The dark web
- Major drug trafficking countries
- False Prescriptions
Just as other synthetic opioids, fentanyl is typically made in a laboratory, making it highly concentrated. It is made through a long sequence of compound chemical reactions that involve contact with classified chemicals. The chemicals composed in fentanyl aim to stimulate the body in the same way opium does.
Fentanyl patches are meant to provide time-release pain relief over 48 to 72 hours. Addicts employ a variety of ways to tamper with the time-release mechanism of the drug in order to receive the effects more quickly. This provides users with a more rapid and intense high. There have been a variety of documented methods of abusing fentanyl patches. Here are some of the most common ways individuals abuse fentanyl patches:
- Apply more than one patch at a time
- Changing patches more frequently than prescribed
- Extracting fentanyl from the patch and injecting the drug intravenously
- Chewing or swallowing patches
- Inserting patches into the rectum
- Inhaling fentanyl gel
- Diluting fentanyl in hot water and drinking like a tea
Is Fentanyl an Opioid?
Yes, fentanyl is a synthetic opioid analgesic. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), fentanyl is a schedule II prescription drug that is typically used to treat severe pain or used for pain management after a surgical procedure.
Fentanyl has been classified as a schedule II drug due to its highly addictive properties and its high potential for abuse. People should be aware of the risks associated with this pain reliever and the possibility of developing both an emotional and physical dependence upon the drug.
Fentanyl is similar to morphine but is 100 times stronger and 50 times more potent than heroin. Many people who become addicted to fentanyl began taking the drug as prescribed after an injury or surgical procedure. Others seek out the drug for recreational use.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, opioids are medications that are used to relieve pain. Opioids bind to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord and work to reduce the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain and reduce feelings of pain.
Opioids are used to treat moderate to severe pain, and are only meant to be prescribed to patients by doctors. But unfortunately, opioids are also available through a variety of illicit channels.
Symptoms and signs of opioid abuse can include:
- Continued use despite negative consequences associated with use
- Poor judgment
- Inability to make decisions
- Poor concentration or attention
- Memory problems
- Opioids taken at higher doses and more frequently
- Inability to cut down or stop use
- Spending significant time trying to obtain the drug
- Inability to tend to daily responsibilities
- Continued use despite negative consequences
- Avoidance of previously important activities
- Continued use in dangerous situations
- Cravings for the drug
- Sleepiness or sedation
- Numbness or inability to feel pain
- Depressed respiration
- Small pupils
- Rashes of flushed skin
- Slurred speech
- The development of tolerance
- Withdrawal symptoms when no longer taking the drug
- Drug is taken to avoid withdrawal symptoms
What Are the Effects of Fentanyl?
The difference between a medical and deadly dose of Fentanyl is only a few measurements. When people use Fentanyl for recreational purposes, they often do not know the extreme jeopardy they put their bodies in with the first use.
Fentanyl is extremely potent, and because of its high potency, many users and drug dealers use it to cut other substances to make their products stronger. Some users are not aware that some street drugs they purchase such as heroin are actually cut with Fentanyl, making their use even deadlier.
When people use Fentanyl, there is a great chance of developing a dependency, tolerance, abuse, and developing addiction. Some instant side effects from the first use of Fentanyl include the following:
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- A runny nose
- Hot and cold flashes
- Severe generalized pain
Fentanyl users slowly can grow a tolerance leading to higher doses. They need bigger measurements of Fentanyl to achieve the desired high effects. With one single dose incorrectly taken, an accidental death can occur.
Overdose cases are very common for people who use Fentanyl. Some signs and symptoms of a Fentanyl overdose include some of the following:
- Slow or shallow breathing
- Irregular and slow heartbeat
- Severe sleepiness
- Cold, clammy skin
- Trouble walking or talking
- Feeling faint, dizzy, or confused
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction to fentanyl, get in touch with New Life House at 888-357-7577 or email us at [email protected] and we can help you find the right options for treatment.
Why Is Fentanyl So Dangerous?
In 2017, according to research done by the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 72,000 deaths occurred from drug overdoses. Nearly 30,000 of those overdose cases were due to Fentanyl. The substance is killing people at a rapid pace.
Ultimately, it is the illegal trading and unregulated and uneducated use of this drug that makes it so dangerous. Drug makers and dealers are lacing other popular drugs with fentanyl which means people are buying and using these drugs and accidentally overdosing.
The potency of Fentanyl should not be belittled or undervalued. Fentanyl is being used and illegally manufactured in other substances because of its high potency. The strong effects are used to substitute a fraction of the other substances. Since replacing and mixing Fentanyl in other street drugs is relatively cheaper, dealers are able to increase their profit and volume with smaller quantities of their “product.”
Most Fentanyl measurements in other substances, like cocaine and heroin, are estimated by eye. Because of its startling factors, even simple exposure to Fentanyl through inhalation or absorption through the skin can present fatal threat. Contact with the substance can cause nausea, slow breathing, as well as other health issues. Cardiovascular and respiratory issues are some of the instant effects from coming in contact with Fentanyl.
With or without being aware, when a user experiences symptoms associated with Fentanyl, they can take more of the substance to ward off the symptoms. When more Fentanyl is ingested in the body, the user puts themselves at a higher risk for an overdose.
How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your System?
When beginning detox from fentanyl, withdrawal symptoms will typically start to show within one to three days of stopping use, and usually subside after about a week to ten days.
Different drug tests detect different drugs and different detection time frames, but one of the most common drug tests is analyzed using urine. On average, fentanyl can be detected in urine up to 8-24 hours after using the drug.
Blood tests are another common drug test used to analyze drug usage. On average, fentanyl can be detected in the blood for up to 12 hours after the drug was used. Urine testing is able to detect fentanyl usage more effectively than a blood test beyond 12 hours. If fentanyl abuse is suspected, it may be best to use an alternative drug testing method, such as urine testing or hair follicle testing.
Saliva testing is a less common drug test used to analyze drug usage. Fortunately, it is able to detect fentanyl use more effectively than urine or blood testing. On average, fentanyl can be detected in saliva testing for up to 1-3 days after use.
Hair follicle testing is often considered one of the most accurate methods of drug testing. It allows the tester to detect past usage much more accurately than urine, blood and saliva. Unfortunately, hair follicle testing is a more expensive and involved form of testing. Fentanyl can be detected through hair follicle testing for up to three months after use.
Different drug tests are more effective with particular drugs. When determining which test is best, it is important to understand that additional factors that could influence the drug testing.
- User’s height and weight: the size of the user can determine how long the drug will be detectable in their system
- Amount of drug used: if higher doses of the drug are consumed it will remain in the user’s system longer.
- User’s metabolism speed: someone with a faster metabolism may have a shorter duration of time when the drug is detectable.
If you are struggling with fentanyl addiction or concerned about a loved one who may be addicted, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 888-357-7577 or email us at [email protected] so that we can help you find the right treatment options for you and your family.
What Should I Do if My Child is Using Fentanyl?
If you are concerned that a loved one is abusing fentanyl or any other drug, it is imperative that you take action. You can never be too safe or intervene too early. Even if you believe a teen may just be “experimenting” with fentanyl or any other substance, confronting the problem is the first step. Experimentation and casual drug or alcohol use can rapidly turn into abuse, dependence or addiction.
If you know someone that needs help, please do not hesitate to give us a call and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have. Please call (888)357-7577, we are here to help!
How Does Fentanyl Addiction Treatment Work?
Unlike alcohol and benzodiazepines, the detox from fentanyl is not a life-threatening one. Medical detox is not fully necessary in most cases, but in severe circumstances it can be a good idea. When beginning detox from fentanyl, withdrawal symptoms will typically start to show within one to three days of stopping use, and usually subside after about a week to ten days.
Withdrawal symptoms from fentanyl in the early stages of detox can include:
- Muscle pain or cramps
In the later stages of detox, withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Body Aches
- Loss of appetite
Most of these symptoms usually subside within a week to 10 days. However, in some cases, individuals can experience protracted withdrawal symptoms which can last for weeks or even months after the usual detox period has passed. The most common of these symptoms include:
There are some who advocate for the use of methadone, suboxone, or buprenorphine as a way to ease the symptoms of withdrawal from fentanyl. While they are correct that they do ease the withdrawal symptoms, these drugs do so by acting as less potent opioids essentially.
It is often harder for an addict to achieve long term sobriety by replacing a fentanyl addiction with the use of stand-ins that are less harmful but don’t reach the standard of sobriety.
How Can New Life House Help?
New Life House is a structured sober living environment which has been operating for the last 30 years and boasts a high rate of success. We help young men ages 18-30 to achieve and maintain sobriety through principles of accountability, discipline, and comradery.
Our community of program graduates is highly active in assisting current participants in the program, and there is never a shortage of fun activities to take part in around Southern California. With the program of Alcoholics Anonymous as our guide, our mission is to provide addicts a safe space to learn and grow as they create a new life for themselves in sobriety.
Please call us today at 888-357-7577 or email us at [email protected], and we will provide you with more information about our program and the services we offer. We look forward to helping you and your family start a new life!