The United States is currently facing an opioid epidemic. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies claimed that patients would not become addicted to prescription opioids. This then prompted doctors and other people in the medical community to widely prescribe opioids for pain management. Fast forward to 2017 and a public health emergency was declared for opioid use.
In 2019, it’s estimated that 130+ people a day died from opioid-related drug overdoses. Those numbers are absolutely devastating. Although the public health emergency has been declared, we have a long way to go when it comes to combating the misuse of opioids. A drug you may have been reading about lately is Fentanyl.
Fentanyl, What Is It?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Just like morphine, fentanyl is prescribed for pain management. Doctors prescribe fentanyl for chronic pain patients who have built a resistance for opiates.
Fentanyl is known by different names. Prescription forms of fentanyl are called Duragesic, Actiq, and Sublimaze. It is also known by more colorful names like dance fever, friend, jackpot, murder 8, and more on the streets.
The effects of Fentanyl when using it are:
- Extreme euphoria/ happiness/ pleasure
- Difficulty in breathing
The Dangers of Fentanyl
Fentanyl is a highly addictive substance. If used under the care of a doctor responsibly, the dependency won’t necessarily escalate into an addiction. However, this isn’t the case for most people.
When using Fentanyl, addicts report feeling an immediate rush of happiness. The potency of fentanyl explains this short reaction time. Fentanyl, like other opioids, binds to opioid receptors located in the brain. These receptors control emotions like happiness and pain, and this is why one of the most common withdrawal symptoms of fentanyl is depression.
Of all the dangers of fentanyl, the effect of long term consumption is the worst. Over time, consistent use of fentanyl dulls the brain’s sensitivity to other sources of happiness and pleasure other than fentanyl. At this point, addicts take more and more to maintain the feeling of euphoria they can only get from taking fentanyl.
How to Get Help With a Fentanyl Addiction
The first thing to note about fentanyl addictions and opioid addictions, in general, is that the best way to overcome them are with professional help. It is not advisable to manage an opioid addiction on your own because the withdrawal symptoms can be pretty brutal. It’s not uncommon for an addict to try to withdraw on their own, and end up taking drugs again because the withdrawal feels unmanageable.
Detoxing at a professional addiction treatment facility is the most effective way to manage opioid withdrawals. Some symptoms of fentanyl withdrawals include (but are not limited to):
- Uncontrollable twitching
- Strong cravings
- Flu-like symptoms
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Body pains and severe aches
The treatment for fentanyl addictions is in two-fold – medication and behavioral therapy. For medication, drugs like buprenorphine that bind to the opioid receptor sites can help wean the addict off fentanyl during detoxification. Severe craving is one of the major dangers of fentanyl. These medications also help reduce the craving by pre- binding to the opioid receptor sites.
How We Can Help at Enlight Treatment Center
Enlight Treatment Center is located in Ventura County, California. We treat substance abuse, dual-diagnosis, and gambling addictions, at an affordable rate. The first step to effectively beating a Fentanyl addiction is professional detoxification. Our clients are under supervision 24/7 to ensure they are as comfortable as possible when detoxing.
After completing detox, our clients complete residential inpatient treatment. During this time, they learn the coping skills needed to maintain long term sobriety from Fentanyl. If you or someone you know is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, please contact us today!