Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate pain reliever used to treat severe pain. There are many health benefits to those prescribed this medication but the risk for developing both emotional and physical dependence is high, especially for those abusing the medication. Fentanyl is available in several different forms; spray, tablet, lozenge, and patch. Addicts are often able to disarm the time-release mechanisms of the drug in order to receive a more rapid and intense high. This is commonly seen with the fentanyl patch. Fentanyl patch abuse is on the rise. This article will explore fentanyl patch abuse and the dangers associated with the abuse.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate pain reliever. It is typically prescribed to patients with an injury, who are experiencing severe pain, or after a patient has undergone surgery. Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and over 100 times stronger than morphine. Fentanyl is classified as a Schedule II drug due to its high potential for abuse and the possibility of leading to severe psychological or physical dependence. Fentanyl is highly addictive and users often develop a tolerance for the drug. Unfortunately, despite many health benefits it is often abused. Many teens abuse fentanyl due to the feeling of euphoria and a relaxed state of mind it produces.
What is a Fentanyl Patch?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate pain reliever that comes in several different forms. One form the drug comes in is a transdermal patch. Transdermal fentanyl patches contain an alcohol gel infused with a specific fentanyl dose. The patch is meant to be applied to the skin and worn to provide constant pain relief over 48 to 72 hours. Transdermal fentanyl patches are generally prescribed for pain especially in palliative treatment for cancer patients and in the management of post-operative pain. Transdermal fentanyl patches are beneficial for patients who don’t tolerate other routes of administration or have adverse effects from other pain medications.
How Are Fentanyl Patches Abused?
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
What Are the Dangers Associated with Fentanyl Patch Abuse?
When used legitimately and as prescribed, fentanyl patches are able to systematically provide pain relief over 48 to 72 hours. Fentanyl patch abuse is the method of taking more of the drug at one, increasing the frequency, or employing alternative routes of administration than prescribed. Fentanyl patch abuse is extremely dangerous. Fentanyl is one of the strongest opioids on the market. It is 50 times more potent that heroin and over 100 times stronger than morphine. When an individual tampers with the fentanyl patch in order to receive more of the drug at one time, they are at a greater risk for accidental overdose, coma and death. Here are some additional dangers associated with fentanyl patch abuse:
- Immune system depression
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Increasing feelings of sedation
- Lack of motivation
- Social withdrawal
- Personality changes
- Delusions or hallucinations
- Loss of relationships with family and close friends
- Increased risk of accidental overdose and death
Individuals who become dependent and then reduce their consumption of the drug will experience withdrawal effects. An individual who is physically and emotionally dependent upon fentanyl should seek help from a medical professional.
Don’t Wait to Intervene – Seek Help Immediately
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 to safe or intervene too early. Even if you believe the 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!