At this point, everyone in the country is likely familiar with opioids and the decimation they brought on families from coast to coast.
Fentanyl is a monster in its own right and worth diving into to understand better.
What Is Fentanyl?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describe fentanyl as such; “a synthetic opioid, approved for treating severe pain, typically advanced cancer pain. It is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine”.
It bears repeating, fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Truly astounding.
Given its potency, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) categorizes it as a Schedule II drug, or one with a “high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence. These drugs are also considered dangerous”.
When prescribed by doctors, it’s commonly taken as a shot, a patch or lozenge similar to a cough drop and works just like other opioids by binding to opioid receptors to alleviate pain and create a sense of euphoria.
When procured illegally, it can come in powder, liquid or pill form and is often mixed with other drugs because it takes so little to create a big effect on the user.
Because of this, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), fentanyl has driven the steep rise in opioid overdoses since 2013. They add that “synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, are now the most common drugs involved in drug overdose deaths in the United States”.
Recent figures from the CDC show that “overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids were nearly 12 times higher in 2019 than in 2013” with more than 36,000 deaths in 2019 alone.
In general, it’s the illegally produced, non-pharmaceutical fentanyl that’s the culprit in overdoses.
Lastly, because of how strong it is, fentanyl is very addictive and extremely difficult to break away from without assistance.
What Are the Signs of a Fentanyl Addiction?
Knowing what a fentanyl addiction looks like is the place to start in helping yourself or a loved one get clear of it.
Signs of addiction can look like this:
- Unable to stop using on your own
- Taking larger doses because a tolerance has developed
- Spending a large chunk of your day and money getting, using and recovering from fentanyl
- Severe cravings
- Failing to meet obligations at work, home or school
- Continuing to use despite overtly negative outcomes
- Not participating in activities that once brought joy
- Legal and financial trouble due to needing to get money for fentanyl
- Putting yourself in dangerous situations
- Withdrawal symptoms develop when you stop using
- Difficulty breathing, coughing, sneezing and chest pain
- Convulsions and chills
- Pain in the back or sides
- Muscle stiffness
- Pale skin
- Severe constipation and /or black stool
- Ulcers and sores in the mouth
- Sunken eyes
- Swollen feet, ankles and hands and/or numbness in the extremities
- Generally fatigued
- Loss of appetite
- Mood swings and irritability
As you can see, fentanyl takes a severe toll, wreaking absolute havoc on your system and only getting worse the longer it goes unchecked.
Why You Should Go to a Fentanyl Rehab
Addiction to a substance that’s so powerful and so devastating requires equally formidable action. Fentanyl rehab is that type of action.
Getting dedicated and customized treatment for your addiction in a supportive environment increases your odds of success immensely.
After safely detoxing under the guidance and supervision of specialists, you’ll begin an individualized treatment program; for fentanyl, it’s often an inpatient program given how powerful the drug is. In rehab, you’ll be surrounded by people who truly understand what you’re going through and participate in one-on-one psychotherapy to work through what led you to fentanyl in the first place. This is complemented by group work where you can build bonds with others and realize you’re never alone on this journey. To learn more about fentanyl rehab, reach out to us at Principles Recovery Center.