Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid similar to morphine but much more powerful. The dangers of Fentanyl include negative physical consequences, drug abuse, drug addiction, overdose, and even death. In the United States, it’s a legal drug used to treat pain but is commonly misused illegally.
It’s used responsibly when prescribed for chronic or severe pain after surgery. When misused for other desired effects, it can often lead to addiction and overdose.
In its prescription form, the name of Fentanyl is known as Actiq, Sublimaze, and Duragesic. When misused, it has several different street names
In this blog, we’ll look at the dangers of Fentanyl, signs, and symptoms of abuse and addiction, and how to protect yourself or a loved one, including treatment. At Emerge Healing Center, we want you to know we’re skilled in treating Fentanyl addiction and have hope for lasting healing for you or your loved one.
Fentanyl Use and Physical Effects
Fentanyl ingestion occurs in many different ways. These include oral methods such as lozenges (fentanyl “lollipops”), tablets, sprays, patches, and injections. In other words, users can inject, snort, sniff, smoke, or swallow, depending on which version of the drug they have.
Usually, fentanyl is used when mixed with other drugs. This is done to get the effects of both drugs. You can imagine how this can be dangerous, specifically for overdosing. Fentanyl use spans all ages and genders, and increases each year, adding to the overarching Opioid epidemic.
Since its creation, the effects of the drug have made it a popular choice for drug users. Its seemingly pleasant physical and mental effects have made it one of the most trafficked drugs in the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl and other synthetic opioids increases dramatically each year.
Again, there’s a reason why this drug is misused so frequently. The most prominent short-term side effect is an intense feeling of euphoria and pain relief.
Dangers of Fentanyl
Like other opioids, the more you use Fentanyl, the more you need to ingest to feel the desired effects. That cycle is what often leads to addiction, overdose, and death.
In addition to euphoria, other physical effects of fentanyl use in the beginning include:
- Balance problems
- Slowed blood pressure
- Slurred speech
- Respiratory depression
Long-term use can lead to more severe side effects such as menstrual cycle issues, reduced sex drive, mood swings, respiratory issues, and addiction.
It’s reported that 3 million US citizens and 16 million worldwide have or do suffer from opioid use disorder, many of which are fentanyl. When used under medical supervision, the drug can be useful, but the illegal form is different. It can also be found in other drugs, including heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, and even marijuana.
Also, like other opioids, it works by attaching to the body’s opioid receptors, which is the area of the brain that controls emotions and pain. As an individual uses more, the brain adapts, making it hard to feel the pleasures of the drug.
Largely due to the overprescription of opioids in the late 90s and early 2000s, these painkillers are the most commonly abused drug in the country today. Drugs like codeine, Vicodin, and OxyContin are easily obtainable, even without a prescription. Today, opioids are responsible for over half of all overdose deaths, even in cases where people weren’t intentionally taking them due to the problematic lacing of other drugs with potent synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
Here are common signs to look out for with a Fentanyl addiction:
- Drug-seeking behaviors such as putting the desire for the drug above anything else
- Continue use after severe negative consequences such as work or school issues, financial problems, and relationships ending
- Having withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop using fentanyl
Withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Muscle aches and pains
- Intense craving for fentanyl
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Increased blood pressure and heart rate
- Uncontrollable leg movements
- Loss of appetite
- Cold flashes
- Depressions and anxiety
Dangers of Fentanyl Overdose
Fentanyl overdoses are extremely common. Synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, are the most common drugs involved in drug overdose deaths in the country. That is due to the number of people using it and how Fentanyl is often mixed with other illicit drugs.
Sometimes, users ingest lethal levels of fentanyl without even knowing.
Knowing the signs of a fentanyl overdose is essential in getting someone the help they need. These include:
- Limp body
- Blue-colored fingernails and lips
- Slowed breathing
- Nausea or vomiting
- Low blood pressure
- Loss of consciousness
- Clammy skin
If you see someone with any of the above symptoms, seek emergency medical attention immediately. If you or a loved one is struggling with abusing fentanyl or a fentanyl addiction, treatment is available and hope is not lost.
Studies show that medication, along with behavioral therapies, is most effective when treating individuals with fentanyl addiction. These therapies can include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Contingency Management, and other counseling.
If you or a loved one are currently dealing with a Fentanyl addiction and would like to know more about treatment options in Atlanta, contact us today. At Emerge Healing Center, our team can help you to decide which program is right for you and help you gain control of your life.