Fentanyl Facts: Everything You Need to Know About Fentanyl
What Is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is man-made. It binds to the receptors in your brain that control pain and emotions and can produce a sensation of euphoria comparable to a heroin high and causes nausea, sedation, and confusion. It is approximately 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, and a minimal amount of fentanyl can be dangerous if not used as prescribed by a medical doctor.
Some of the effects of fentanyl use include:
- Drowsiness, sedation, and mellowness
- Muscle stiffness
- Nausea, constipation, and other stomach and digestion issues
- Long-term damage to respiratory and cardiovascular systems
- Confusion and dizziness
- Slurred speech
- Sleep problems
- Itching and scratching
- Blurred vision
- Loss of appetite
- Exacerbation of mental health issues
- Needle use can cause scarring, collapsed veins, track marks, and skin abscesses
- Impaired judgment leading to risky behavior like needle sharing
- Overdose leading to brain damage, cognitive defects, coma, and death
It is important to note that fentanyl can be absorbed through the skin and can be lethal in very small doses. You can also very easily overdose by using somebody else’s fentanyl medication, as each person’s body reacts differently to the drug.
The Dangers of Illicitly Manufactured Fentanyl
Using any type of fentanyl comes with an extremely high probability of addiction when abused. Still, it is even more dangerous to use illicitly manufactured fentanyl because you never know what you are actually getting when you buy it.
Illicitly manufactured fentanyl is illegally made in labs and is sold as a liquid, pills, or powder. It can be put into eye droppers or a nasal spray and sold as drops on blotter paper. People will even scrape the gel out of prescription slow-release patches and smoke, inject or ingest it. Common street names of illicit fentanyl or fentanyl-laced heroin are TNT, Murder 8, Poison, Goodfellas, Apache, Friend, China White, China Town, China Girl, Dance Fever, Great Bear, He-Man, and Jackpot.
The people who make fentanyl in labs are doing so to make a profit, and they are not regulated, nor do they have a system quality control in place. They will put additives in your drugs to stretch out their product and make more money, and they have no way of guaranteeing they are putting the same dose in each hit. You cannot see fentanyl or smell it or taste it. You have no way to tell how much is in the pill, liquid, or powder, and neither do your dealers.
Fentanyl is the cause of hundreds of thousands of deaths every year, meaning that over 150 people die from it every day. This means that every time you use fentanyl made in a lab, you are putting yourself in danger of overdosing. Even the additives that may sound harmless can cause permanent internal damage to your organs.
Medical Use of Fentanyl
Medical or pharmaceutical fentanyl is a strong medical prescription given to help patients experiencing extreme pain and those resistant to other opioid treatments. It is usually given after surgeries or to a person with a chronic pain issue or advanced-stage cancer. This is generally given as a shot in a hospital setting, in a slow-release patch absorbed through the skin, or in a tablet that can be sucked on. Common brand names of medical fentanyl include Sublimaze, Actiq, Duragesic, Lazanda, Abstal, and Subsys.
Fentanyl and Overdose Risks
Fentanyl is 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine and hundreds of times more powerful than heroin. The tiniest amount, about the size of a few grains of salt, can kill you. The risk of overdose is extremely high. An overdose occurs when the drug causes your breathing rate to slow down so much it becomes too shallow to sustain life or even stops altogether. You lose the urge to breathe until you lose consciousness.
This condition is called hypoxia and can very quickly lead to a coma, permanent brain damage, and death if it is not treated immediately using Naloxone as you try and keep the person awake and breathing, lay them on their side in the recovery position to prevent choking and get them immediate medical attention. It is vital to call 911 right away if you think somebody is overdosing because fentanyl is often mixed into other drugs, and it may be challenging to know what is causing the overdose.
Even if you give a few doses of Naloxone, fentanyl can still overpower them, and it can last longer in the body than Naloxone does. A person overdosing on fentanyl will display most or all of the following signs:
- They will pass out, fall asleep or lose consciousness
- They may sound like they are snoring, choking, or gurgling
- Their pupils will get very small and constricted, called “pinpoint pupils”
- Their body will become limp
- Their pulse will be weak or slow
- Their skin may feel cold and clammy
- Their skin will change color. In darker-skinned people, this will mainly present as blue or purple coloring on the inside of their lips, and in lighter-skinned people, you may see fingertips/nails and lips turn blue or purple
- Their breathing will become slow, weak or stop completely
Getting Help for Fentanyl Addiction
For help finding fentanyl addiction treatment, contact Muse Treatment today. We are here to help you with everything, from quitting and detox to rehabilitation, and help to rebuild your life and lift your spirit.
Quitting fentanyl is not easy because it changes the chemistry in your brain over time, rewiring you to crave more. The withdrawal symptoms are complicated and can make you want to give up and relapse. It can feel like a hopeless situation if you are trying to quit using fentanyl on your own, but that is why we are here. We can help you break the cycle and stop using fentanyl for good.
Our medical opioid detox program at Muse Treatment can help you with the withdrawal symptoms of quitting fentanyl. These may include:
- Sleep problems like insomnia or nightmares
- Cold flashes with goosebumps
- Uncontrollable leg movements
- Muscle and bone pain
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Severe drug cravings
In our medical detox program, we can help you taper slowly off fentanyl using prescription medications like methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone to get your body used to the lack of fentanyl in your system. You will not gain a new addiction at prescription doses for a short amount of time, but these medications will help with the cravings. We can also provide medicine to help with the pain and restlessness so you can rest your body properly as you detox.
You will live inside our detox facility, with 24-hour medical supervision. We will monitor your progress and keep you safe. We will also provide behavioral therapy, counseling, and dual diagnosis treatment to help you with the psychological side of detoxing. These treatments will continue into your next phase of treatment, a customized rehab program.
Our opioid rehab program involves an inpatient and outpatient component. Those in rehab for a fentanyl addiction may require long-term aftercare, as the aftereffects are lengthy with this drug.
At Muse Treatment, we offer an integrated 30 to 90-day rehab program in which you will live inside our facility, attending group and individual therapy, educational sessions, counseling, life-skills courses, and other treatments. Our team of rehabilitation experts can help you to change your overall mindset, your behaviors and provide you with the recovery tools you will need to live a drug-free life. We will help you get to the root of your addiction, deal with mental health issues, and heal your mind, body, and spirit through a combination of treatments. The longer you spend in rehab, the better your chances are for long-term recovery, so the entire 90-day program is recommended for those recovering from fentanyl addiction.
After inpatient rehab, you can move into an outpatient program. These are customized programs where you live outside the facility, incrementally returning to your everyday responsibilities like work or family care while still receiving full support and therapy from our professionals.
In our Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), you can return to our facility for full days of programming up to seven days a week. In our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), you can tailor your treatment plan to best suit your schedule and needs. You can remain in aftercare with us for as long as you need and can come back at any time if you feel you need extra support down the line.
At Muse Treatment, we provide a consistent, high level of care and support to help you make the lasting lifestyle changes you need to stay off fentanyl for good. Contact us today at (800) 426-1818 to learn about our medical detox program, opioid rehab programs, and how you can get help today.
— Muse Treatment (@MuseTreatmentLA) December 1, 2021