First utilized in a medical setting for pain relief and combination use with anesthesia, fentanyl is an incredibly powerful and dangerous opioid. As with any other drug of this class, fentanyl’s impact on the brain’s dopamine supply and reward system makes it highly addictive. In the U.S., fentanyl is frequently sought out for recreational use. Additionally, the opioid epidemic has further contributed to the rise of fentanyl abuse across the country, affecting millions. To educate the public and spread awareness concerning the importance of professional care, Banyan Stuart is sharing the signs of fentanyl use that may indicate a need for care.
What Is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid pain medication that’s used to treat severe pain caused by cancer, surgery, or injury. When administered in a medical setting under the direction of healthcare professionals, fentanyl can be an effective medication for those suffering from severe pain. However, due to its potency and intense effect on dopamine levels and reward in the brain, it’s also a common drug of abuse.
When someone uses fentanyl, they experience a strong analgesic effect as well as feelings of euphoria. This is because fentanyl works by binding to mu-Opioid receptors in the brain, spine, and gut, which regulate pain and emotions. Otherwise referred to as a fentanyl high, these feelings are what hook users and encourage further drug-taking behavior.
Fentanyl may be administered in a variety of ways, including injection, transdermal patch, lozenge, and nasal spray. How someone uses fentanyl depends on whether it’s administered in a medical setting or being used illegally.
Not only is fentanyl sold individually, but it’s also laced into many illicit drugs, such as heroin, illegally sold prescription pills, and even cocaine. This is because fentanyl is often cheaper for illicit drug dealers to manufacture, meaning that it’s cut (added) into more and more drugs to increase profit margins from illegal drug sales. Due to its highly addictive and potent nature, dealers may also lace drugs with fentanyl to increase their sales with a cheaper product and keep their clients coming back for more.
Considering that fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin, using even the smallest dose of this drug to lace substances puts users in grave danger. For this reason, fentanyl cutting has led to an increase in the number of accidental overdose deaths seen in this country. Thus, even if you’re not using fentanyl directly, it’s important to understand that it may be present in other illicit drugs.
Fentanyl Addiction Signs
As with any other opioid, fentanyl addiction can happen quickly. As tolerance to the drug builds, higher and more frequent doses are needed to feel the same effects. After a while, the individual is no longer able to function normally without fentanyl, resulting in physical and psychological dependence.
Some common signs of fentanyl use include:
- Confusion or disorientation
- Constricted pupils
- Drowsiness and lethargy
- Extreme weight changes
- Increased irritability
- Increased tolerance to the drug, leading to higher doses and risk of overdose
- Itching or flushed skin
- Lethargy or sleepiness
- Missing work or school due to fentanyl abuse
- Muscle rigidity or tremors
- Nausea and vomiting
- Obsession or preoccupation with obtaining and using fentanyl
- Reduced social interactions or neglecting responsibilities
- Slow or shallow breathing
- Slurred speech
- Withdrawal symptoms whenever fentanyl is not being used
The signs of fentanyl abuse may range from physical to behavioral. For instance, not only may a user experience mood swings and withdrawals when they’re in between uses or trying to quit, but they may also isolate themselves from loved ones or spend time with other people who use drugs. Additionally, many users may also turn to cheaper alternatives that are easier to obtain – such as heroin – if they begin to have trouble finding fentanyl. Heroin abuse may contribute to other changes.
If you or someone you care about displays any fentanyl use signs, don’t wait to get help. The experts at our Stuart, Florida, Banyan treatment center offer can help get the recovery process started with our Florida opiate detox. Because opioids are one of the most difficult drugs to quit, this treatment not only makes relapse less likely to occur but also reduces the risk of complications such as severe dehydration. It’s advised that anyone looking to quit fentanyl seek out professional care, such as the services offered at our Banyan rehab locations.
Fentanyl Addiction Treatment at Banyan
Getting sober starts by reaching out for help. The professionals at our Stuart rehab offer opioid addiction treatment for fentanyl addiction designed to help users regain their health and sobriety. Don’t wait to reach out.
Call Banyan Treatment Centers today at 888-280-4763 for more information about our Florida addiction treatment. You can also verify your insurance and have an admission specialist work with you on finding an appropriate treatment plan.