Because of its highly addictive properties, Fentanyl has become a significant contributor to the opioid epidemic in the United States.
Industry leaders since 2002, Hired Power in Huntington Beach, California, offers personalized and compassionate services for the entire recovery process from fentanyl addiction. Hired Power clients achieve and maintain successful recovery and fulfillment.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a highly potent synthetic opioid painkiller that is 50–100 times more powerful than morphine. Cheap and easy to acquire, Fentanyl is one of the most abused drugs in America. It’s believed to be responsible for more than 90% of all drug overdose deaths in the U.S.
In medical care, Fentanyl is used to treat severe pain during general anesthesia, acute pain following surgery, chronic pain caused by cancer, and end-of-life and palliative care.
How is Fentanyl Used?
When prescribed by a physician, Fentanyl can be administered via injection, skin patch, or lozenges similar to cough drops.
As a recreational drug, it can be snorted or injected. Fentanyl has been discovered in the bodies of people who died of heroin overdoses, and there are reports of Fentanyl being sold on the street as heroin—with tragic consequences.
The illegally-used Fentanyl associated with recent overdoses is made in labs. It can be formed into pills that look like other prescription opioids, sold in powder form, dropped onto blotter paper, or put into eye droppers and nasal sprays.
How Does Fentanyl Affect the Body?
Fentanyl, like other opioid-based drugs, binds to the opioid receptors in the body. Opioid receptors are involved in a variety of functions, including pain perception and emotional regulation.
Recreational Fentanyl gives an intense but pleasurable high, causing users to feel relaxed, euphoric, and calm. “Nodding out” is the shift between states of alertness and semi-consciousness.
The initial opioid high is intense and elusive. Users can’t replicate that first experience, but they continue using in an attempt to reach it again.
Side effects of Fentanyl include:
- Slowed breathing
All opioids, including Fentanyl, slow breathing and reduce heart rate, causing breathing difficulties. In severe cases, respiratory arrest may result.
What are the signs of Fentanyl addiction?
People who become addicted to Fentanyl may experience severe withdrawal symptoms beginning just a few hours after the drug was last used. Symptoms include:
- Severe cravings
- Bone and muscle pain
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Cold flashes with goosebumps
- Uncontrollable leg movements
- Sleep difficulties
These symptoms can be excruciating and are the reason many people struggle to stop using Fentanyl. Medicines are being developed to ease the withdrawal process for Fentanyl and other opioids.
Symptoms of a Fentanyl Overdose
Symptoms of an overdose can appear within seconds of taking Fentanyl:
- Confusion or strange behavior
- Losing consciousness
- Purple or blue complexion and lips
- Stiffening of the body or seizures
- Gurgling or slow breathing
- Chest pain
First responders are likely to administer naloxone (Narcan), an opiate antidote.
Naloxone is available in pharmacies without a prescription. It comes in two forms: a rapid-acting nasal spray and a preloaded multiple-dose syringe.
Some experts recommend having naloxone on hand if someone in the household is known to be taking narcotics.
Fentanyl test strips can be used to ensure that other drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, or MDMA aren’t laced with Fentanyl. They are easy to use and results are available in just a matter of minutes. These strips are available through outreach programs, such as needle exchanges.
Why is Fentanyl So Dangerous?
Fentanyl is considered the most dangerous drug for many reasons:
- Fentanyl is far more potent than other opioids—up to 100 times more potent than morphine—and is extremely dangerous when misused.
- Accidental overdoses often occur when other drugs are laced with Fentanyl.
- When combined with alcohol, other opioids, or sedatives such as Xanax, Valium, or Ativan, the risk of overdose increases significantly.
Fentanyl Addiction Treatment
Fortunately, the cycle of addiction can be broken. Options are available to treat Fentanyl addiction and other opioid use disorders, as well as the mental health issues that often occur with the addiction.
The first step toward overcoming substance abuse is to seek treatment from experts who are capable of handling the complexities of fentanyl addiction.
Hired Power in Huntington Beach, CA, offers a compassionate, personalized approach to the entire recovery process. The authority on services such as interventions, safe passage, data-driven monitoring, personal recovery assistants, case management, and coaching for individuals and families—Hired Power holds the trust of thousands of treatment centers, professionals, clients, and their loved ones.
Don’t Face Recovery Alone, Get Expert Help
Fentanyl is a highly potent opioid that provides relief to people suffering from severe acute or chronic pain. However, it can cause harm or death in people with opioid use disorders or those who are accidentally exposed to the drug.
At Hired Power in Huntington Beach, California, we understand that mental health and addiction are intertwined. Recovery starts with a single step and continues for a lifetime. We can help you and your loved ones every step of the way.