Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid said to be 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Fentanyl is Highly addictive, and dangerously potent. Dr Greenwood states that an untreated fentanyl addiction is likely to lead to overdose and death.
What Is Fentanyl
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid generally prescribed to treat severe pain after surgery. It may also be used as anesthesia or prescribed for people with chronic pain and tolerance to opioids.
Incredibly potent, fentanyl is stronger than both morphine and heroin; it’s been turned from an effective measure for treating severe pain to a commonly abused and deadly street drug.
On the streets, fentanyl is bought and sold as a powder, in tablets made to look like other prescription opioids, dissolved on paper tabs and laced with or substituted for heroin.
Fentanyl addiction is likely to develop from these non-medical forms sold on the street and manufactured illegally in labs.
Street names for fentanyl (and fentanyl-laced heroin) include Apache, China Girl, China Town, Dance Fever, Jackpot, King Ivory, Murder 8 and more.
Much of the fentanyl produced is manufactured in China and smuggled across borders, eventually reaching people in the US by mail delivery or drug cartels. Due to its high potency and relative ease of manufacturing, fentanyl has become enormously profitable to make and sell.
Unfortunately, those suffering from fentanyl addiction are the ones who pay the ultimate price.
Fentanyl use creates a powerful state of relaxation and euphoria that makes it highly addictive.
Dr Nick Greenwood advises that fentanyl addiction can be very difficult to overcome without treatment.
What’s more, a very small amount of fentanyl can kill a person, making overdose common for people using fentanyl. Dr Greenwood says that knowing the signs and symptoms of fentanyl addiction can help a person investigate treatment options before the dangers of the drug take hold.
Signs and Symptoms Of Fentanyl Addiction
People suffering from fentanyl addiction will likely show signs of typical drug-seeking behavior. This includes compulsively using fentanyl or other opioids, craving fentanyl, showing impaired judgment relating to fentanyl, and continuing to use fentanyl despite obvious harm.
Fentanyl use is also likely to cause certain symptoms and may include:
- Blurred vision
- Respiratory depression (slowed breathing)
A person with a fentanyl addiction may have initially suffered from another opioid addiction. People misusing opioids are likely to develop a tolerance, meaning their response to the drug, or high, isn’t as powerful as it once was.
Dr Greenwood says that it’s crucial to spot the signs and symptoms of fentanyl addiction because the misuse of fentanyl is extremely dangerous. Treatment options should be considered immediately in order to avoid the life-threatening dangers of fentanyl addiction.
Dangers Of Fentanyl Addiction
Fentanyl use directly affects areas of the brain that control a person’s breathing. The high potency of fentanyl can cause breathing to be slowed to a dangerous rate that may cause death. Breathing problems for those suffering from fentanyl addiction is usually one of the main factors in overdose deaths.
Overdose deaths caused by fentanyl and other opioids have been on the rise since the 1990s. Overdose from fentanyl can occur by taking fentanyl alone or by mixing it with other opioids, like heroin.
Heroin laced with synthetic fentanyl is said to be 30 to 50 times more potent than straight heroin and therefore extremely dangerous. Fentanyl-laced heroin is a major contributor to the current opioid crisis facing the United States.
Symptoms of a fentanyl overdose may include:
- Blue lips or fingernails
- Cold and clammy skin
- Slow breathing
Due to the potency of the drug, a person suffering from fentanyl addiction may not last long. Consistent use of fentanyl will likely lead to overdose and death.
Stopping use, however, can be difficult because the person will likely be dependent on fentanyl, meaning they will experience painful withdrawal when they stop using.
Fentanyl Addiction withdrawal
As an opioid, fentanyl is likely to cause uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal for a person struggling with addiction. Withdrawal occurs after a person forms a physical dependence and then stops using the drug; their body requires time and adjustment to recover.
The duration of withdrawal depends on the person, frequency of use and how much they usually took.
The more severe the addiction to fentanyl, the more severe the withdrawal symptoms.
Early symptoms of withdrawal are likely to include:
- muscle and bone pain
- runny nose
- sleeping problems
Later symptoms of fentanyl addiction withdrawal may include:
- abdominal cramping
- dilated pupils
- involuntary leg movements
When withdrawal is severe, people may undergo medically supervised detoxification, or detox, to help manage the pain and severity of withdrawal symptoms.
Dr Greenwood states that medically supervised detox generally occurs in a hospital or inpatient treatment center where professionals are able to administer medications to make the detox and withdrawal process more tolerable and less painful.
Detox is not a cure for addiction, and different treatment options should follow for the effective management of fentanyl addiction.