Fentanyl is one of the most dangerous drugs involved in the ongoing opioid epidemic in the United States. Fentanyl has become very common in drug markets and is responsible for an ever increasing number of deadly overdoses. It is important to understand how fentanyl is being consumed, just how dangerous it is, and how fentanyl addiction can be treated–or its effects reversed–even in the case of an overdose. Here’s what you need to know about fentanyl:
- Fentanyl is an incredibly powerful opioid used to treat pain in medicine. Most fentanyl that is abused is made illegally in laboratories outside the United States.
- The National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that almost half of opioid-related deaths involve fentanyl.
- It is the most commonly-found drug in overdoses, with the rate of overdoses involving fentanyl increasing by over 100% every year from 2013 through 2016.
- Fentanyl can be injected, snorted, taken via a patch on the skin, or ingested as a pill. Producers of illegal fentanyl continue to find new ways to make and transport the drug, leading to new ways for users to abuse it.
- Over 100 times as potent as morphine, fentanyl induces powerful feelings of euphoria in users and is highly addictive.
- It is increasingly common for fentanyl to be mixed with other dangerous substances, like cocaine or heroin. This is one reason behind the number of fentanyl-related deadly overdoses, since it only takes 3 milligrams – the equivalent of a tiny shake of salt – to be fatal.
- The majority of fentanyl-related overdose deaths are polysubstance, meaning that multiple drugs were involved.
- There is often no way for addicts to tell if the substance they are buying contains fentanyl or other potentially deadly drugs.
- Fentanyl overdoses, like other opioid overdoses, are treatable with the opioid antagonist known as Naloxone. Naloxone, better known as Narcan, can be administered as a nasal spray to drug users in the throes of an overdose to revive them and save their lives.
- Regular fentanyl use can lead to tolerance, dependence, and addiction, along with health risks such as respiratory issues, slurred speech, and overdose. An individual who abuses fentanyl or other opioids and exhibits specific signs of dependence and dangerous use is said to have an Opioid Use Disorder.
- Users who quit fentanyl are likely to experience serious withdrawal symptoms, which can include nausea, sweating, diarrhea, insomnia, muscle aches or pains, cravings, and anxiety, among others.
- Fentanyl and similar opioid addictions can be treated with a number of effective modalities. These include behavioral approaches administered by a therapist, such as cognitive-behavioral or contingency management therapies. Medication-based treatment can also be effective, with drugs like methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone, which can alleviate cravings and block the effects of opioids should relapse occur. The use of medication-assisted treatment should be discussed with a medical professional.
- Fentanyl’s uniquely high level of risk for overdose means that anyone addicted to it, or to heroin or other substances with which it is commonly laced, needs to find proper treatment for their condition quickly and recover from drug abuse as soon as possible.
Granite Recovery Centers–with 12 drug rehab centers in New Hampshire–offers a full spectrum of drug rehabilitation care, from detox to inpatient treatment to extended living options. Our unique approach combines a strong focus and base of 12-step work, bolstered by the most effective and clinically-backed models of clinical psychotherapy available. We will help you or your loved one beat fentanyl and opioid abuse, treat the underlying causes of that abuse, and help you develop the habits and coping strategies that lead to a better life of sustained recovery from substance abuse. If you or a loved one needs help from a drug addiction, call 855.712.7784. We can help.