Fentanyl is a highly addictive, synthetic opioid used to treat severe pain; it is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Opioids like Morphine come from the opium poppy plant, but synthetic opioids, like Fentanyl, are made by scientists in labs using the same chemical structure. Fentanyl was originally a prescription-only opioid pain reliever, but now it is being made and used illegally all over the world. Fentanyl works on the central nervous system and blocks the pain receptors in the brain. It increases dopamine production and produces feelings of extreme happiness, calmness, and euphoria; this is what makes the drug so addictive. When it is used legally Fentanyl is often used in operating room settings to assist with anesthesia, for severe pain in cancer patients, or for chronic pain patients who have developed a high tolerance to other common opioids. However, most recently there has been an extreme rise in the number of opioid overdose and overdose deaths due to illicit Fentanyl. Since Fentanyl is cheaper, it is being mixed with other illicit drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and MDMA, to increase their potency; it takes very little Fentanyl to produce a powerful and euphoric high. The Center For Disease Control the following about fentanyl:
Most recent cases of fentanyl-related harm, overdose, and death in the U.S. are linked to illegally made fentanyl. It is sold through illegal drug markets for its heroin-like effect. It is often mixed with heroin and/or cocaine as a combination product—with or without the user’s knowledge—to increase its euphoric effects. Rates of overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone, which includes fentanyl, increased 10% from 2017 to 2018. Over 31,000 people died from overdoses involving synthetic opioids (other than methadone) in 2018. (CDC)
In the same manner that it takes very little of the drug to produce a powerful high, it takes very little Fentanyl to cause an overdose. A lethal dose of Fentanyl is only 2 mg or one-tenth of a lethal dose of Heroin. Fentanyl affects the areas of the brain that control a person’s breathing. Since Fentanyl is so potent, it can slow breathing to a dangerous rate. Most overdose deaths from Fentanyl are due to respiratory issues.
Dangers of Fentanyl Dependence
Fentanyl addiction is very dangerous. Its potency makes the drug both very addictive and lethal. Other opioids may produce symptoms of overdose gradually, but because Fentanyl is so potent, overdose can quickly happen without any euphoria or other side effects that would lead up to the symptoms of overdose. Once you’re addicted to fentanyl, we recommend a medical fentanyl detox that includes around the click clinical supervision to safely manage withdrawal symptoms.
What Are Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms?
If you are around someone and suspect they are experiencing an overdose from Fentanyl or any other opioid, call 911 immediately. There is a medication available now to reverse an opioid overdose if the person receives medical attention immediately. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that binds to the opioid receptors and can reverse and block the effects of other opioids. If given in time, this medication can save a person’s life. We’ve put together a list of the signs that show someone may be experiencing a fentanyl overdose. Here are some of the most common symptoms of a Fentanyl overdose:
- Difficulty breathing
- Extreme sleepiness or fatigue
- The trouble with memory or cognition
- Inability to walk, stumbling, or loss of coordination
- Blue lips or mouth
- Contracted pupils
Treatment for Fentanyl Abuse and Addiction
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction, our addiction specialists are available around the clock to assist you. Evoke Wellness offers safe medical detoxification in a comfortable environment and with minimal discomfort. We provide residential treatment in a structured environment and then provide you with aftercare support to help lead you on a road to long-lasting recovery. You don’t have to suffer any longer. Call us today.