Carfentanil is an opioid that is made in a lab, and it is a highly potent drug. Carfentanil was never meant for human consumption, but it is happening. In 2018, 31,000 people died because they ingested synthetic opioids, and this number surpasses the number of deaths that are attributed to other types of opioids. Fatalities related to opioids have gone up by 10% since 2017.
Synthetic opioid use increased by 92.5% in Arizona, and this is the largest increase that occurred in our 50 states. The largest number of people to die of synthetic opioid overdoses happened in West Virginia with 34 fatalities per 100,000 people.
Carfentanil is an extremely dangerous drug that is 10,000 times more potent than morphine, and it is also 100 times more powerful than fentanyl. The fact that more people are beginning to use carfentanil is causing great concern for the authorities because the possibility of overdosing on this drug is very high. As a result, there is an increased risk of death because of carfentanil overdoses.
Sometimes, people are ingesting carfentanil without their knowledge. They are intending to purchase cocaine or heroin, but they are receiving drugs that have been laced with carfentanil. As they are taking these compounds, they are dying of overdoses in large numbers.
If a human being comes in contact with as little as a couple of granules of carfentanil, it could easily lead to that person’s death. Carfentanil was created to be an anesthetic for large animals, so it is extremely toxic to human beings.
Further increasing the danger of carfentanil is its appearance. It looks so much like cocaine or heroin that people cannot distinguish the difference between it and the other drugs. It also doesn’t have a smell, so nothing would alert users that they are receiving carfentanil with their cocaine or heroin.
If there is one silver lining, it is the fact that carfentanil use doesn’t lead to a substance use disorder. This lack of substance addiction is because carfentanil use frequently results in an overdose or death. This doesn’t mean that people cannot misuse carfentanil or develop addictions to cocaine or heroin, however.
What Is Carfentanil Withdrawal Like?
You are not likely to experience any carfentanil withdrawal symptoms because you are not likely to become addicted to carfentanil. People are receiving carfentanil when it is “cut” into other drugs. They can, however, become addicted to cocaine or heroin, so they will experience the withdrawal symptoms that cocaine and heroin cause. In the event that the carfentanil causes an overdose, the person will not be able to take any drugs at this time. That’s when the withdrawal symptoms for the cocaine or the heroin may begin.
Since carfentanil is an opioid, the user may experience the following opioid withdrawal symptoms when coming down from carfentanil:
- Tachycardia, or an increased heart rate
- Goosebumps or chills
- Excessive sweating
- Tearing or watery eyes
- A runny nose
- Pain in the muscles
- Vomiting or nausea
The Timeline of an Opioid Addiction
In 2018, 808,000 people used heroin, but some of this heroin may have been laced with carfentanil. This will result in an opioid addiction that will follow the timeline described below.
As the withdrawal process begins six to 30 hours after taking your last dose of an opioid drug laced with carfentanil, you may start to sweat and have trouble sleeping. You may feel very tired, and your bones and muscles will ache. You may be irritable or experience anxiety.
These responses will all depend on the type of opiate you were ingesting and how you were in the habit of ingesting it. It also depends on the amount of the drug that you were taking on a daily basis. Your overall health and whether or not you have a mental health condition also play roles in how long the withdrawal process takes. Lastly, the half-life of the substances you were taking must also be considered.
After about three days have passed, the withdrawal symptoms will be even worse. At the same time, you may still have the earlier symptoms, but they might be more severe than they were when they first started. The new symptoms may include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, stomach ache, and chills.
When the symptoms begin in the first week, they will be the hardest to endure, but not all of these symptoms will go away. In most cases, symptoms will only last four weeks, but they can also last for several months in some circumstances. The symptoms that typically last longer than seven days include difficulties sleeping, anxiety, depression, the inability to experience pleasure, and tiredness.
Other Symptoms of the Detoxification Process
When the detox process begins, it doesn’t usually end in death. However, if carfentanil is part of the equation, it is very likely that an overdose could lead to death. While the carfentanil is causing an overdose, the person could be experiencing opiate withdrawal symptoms at the same time, and those feelings can make the person very uncomfortable.
Along with the symptoms that were listed above, someone withdrawing from opioids and carfentanil may experience an increased amount of pain, an increased pulse rate, an increased blood pressure, dehydration, and an electrolyte imbalance.
If the withdrawal symptoms listed above begin, it can be very dangerous for your loved one. People do not usually die when they are detoxing from opiates, but there is a time when this can definitely occur. Because of persistent diarrhea and vomiting, a person can become dehydrated and develop an elevated blood sodium level. These responses can result in heart failure.
You can help your loved one avoid this experience and this type of ending by bringing this person to a drug detox program like the one we offer at Granite Recovery Center.
Medical Detox at Granite Recovery Center
There’s no reason to risk losing your loved one in the withdrawal process. At Granite Recovery Center, we have a medical detox program that our medical staff supervises, so your loved one will be safe. We provide our residents with medications that relieve their withdrawal symptoms so that they don’t have to suffer extreme discomfort. This ensures that your loved one will complete the detoxification process without feeling the need to go in search of opiates again.
What Is the Detoxification Process?
During the detoxification process, all traces of the drugs are removed from patients’ bodies. This needs to be the first step in the treatment of substance use disorders because it would be impossible for our residents to concentrate on what they need to do to overcome their addictions while they are experiencing the withdrawal symptoms listed above.
The brains and bodies of people addicted to drugs are used to having substances in their systems, but we must gradually reduce the presence of these drugs so that the brain and the body can become accustomed to being without them. The reason that they experience the withdrawal symptoms is that their bodies aren’t accustomed to being without the drug, and the detoxification process corrects this condition. Attempting to detox on your own often ends in a resounding failure, so the best thing is to complete the process in a treatment center.
How Is Opioid Withdrawal Treated?
At Granite Recovery Center, our residents receive our medication-assisted treatment, or MAT. Our medical professionals provide them with medication that relieves their withdrawal symptoms. If the symptoms are mild enough, all that is required is Tylenol or ibuprofen. To treat diarrhea, we give our residents Imodium, and hydroxyzine alleviates the nausea.
We can also treat withdrawal symptoms that are much more severe. When our residents are in our detoxification unit, our medical personnel will take care of them 24 hours a day. If someone is experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms, one option is to provide the patient with clonidine, which is a medication that reduces withdrawal symptoms by as much as 75% in some cases. This medicine also relieves the cravings for opioids.
Methadone is another medication that reduces withdrawal symptoms and also relieves cravings. It is an opioid, but our professionals prescribe it for their patients as a long-term remedy. When it is time, they will gradually reduce methadone so that the body will not react by creating withdrawal symptoms.
Buprenorphine is another medication that we use to combat withdrawal symptoms, and its function is similar to that of methadone.
Manufacturers combine buprenorphine and naloxone to create suboxone. Buprenorphine is also a mild opioid, but it alleviates the withdrawal symptoms and shortens the amount of time that it takes for opioids to be removed from the body. Naloxone binds to the opioid receptors in the brain, countering the effects of opioids. Naloxone, and its brand-name incarnation Narcan, is used by emergency responders to reverse overdoses. The drug also makes it so that the person doesn’t experience constipation that occurs with opioid withdrawal.
Our staff gives our residents intravenous fluids because the vomiting that is associated with withdrawal can cause dehydration. Giving fluids intravenously replaces water and reduces the electrolyte imbalance.
Detox in a Treatment Center
Withdrawal symptoms are so troublesome that no one should try to detox on their own. Trying to recover alone is also unnecessary because the treatment that we can give our residents at Granite Recovery Center gives everyone the best chances of completing the detoxification process. Each patient also has a chance to continue on to the therapy that will lead him or her toward a drug-free existence.
Some people are concerned that treatment with the medications listed above means that a person would be trading one addiction for another. The fact is that a drug addiction begins when people are searching for a way to feel better, and this is what the medications listed above will do for you. The difference is that medicines administered during the detoxification process will be provided by a trained medical team, so you will not become addicted to these medications.
In addition to the treatment that the person addicted to opioids receives, we also provide counseling for the family members. Family members and friends are all affected when someone is addicted to opioids, but they are instrumental in helping the affected person overcome the drug addiction. Therefore, it is very important to a person’s recovery to have friends and family members participate in therapy sessions.
After our residents complete the detox process, we can place them in an inpatient treatment program that addresses the drug addiction. An outpatient treatment program is also an option for those with sufficient support at home. For those in need of an extended care option, we have sober living homes that allow residents to live independently as they also receive the support they need to remain free of opioids.
If you would like to get help for a loved one, contact us at Granite Recovery Center today.