The number of individuals misusing opioids in our country is steadily increasing as each day passes. As the number of individuals affected steadily rises, the number of harmful chemicals being found on the streets does so as well. Fentanyl, an extremely powerful opioid, is a common topic amongst headliners as it is responsible for a relatively large body count. More and more individuals are starting to realize the effect of Fentanyl drug abuse as the subject of the opioid epidemic is being explored nationwide. Understanding the dangers of this deadly chemical may help those who would otherwise use it and fall victim to the dangerous process of addiction.
What is Fentanyl?
Although it may not seem like it because of all of the epidemic’s victims, prescription opioids can do good. Fentanyl is a prescription opioid synthesized to mirror the effects of morphine. This makes it extremely useful in medical settings in managing symptoms of pain due to surgery, injury, or illness. Synthesized opioids produce similar or exact effects as their opiate counterparts, but tend to be of a higher potency. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), in the case of Fentanyl, compared to its opiate cousin morphine, it is 50 to 100 times more potent. This high potency makes this drug extremely dangerous no matter an individual’s tolerance for or experience with opioids.
In a medical setting, Fentanyl is prescribed in the forms of lozenges, injections, and time-release skin patches. When Fentanyl is seen on the streets, it is usually purchased from the black market of Asia. So, Fentanyl recognized on the street is commonly in the forms of powder, tablets, and liquid (onto blotter paper).
What Fentanyl Drug Abuse does to the Brain and Body
Because of the extremely high potency of Fentanyl, the risk of overdose and death are high for even first time users. The receptors in the brain that are affected by Fentanyl are located in areas of the brain that are responsible for an essential involuntary reaction; breathing. Because of this, many first time or frequent users can lose their ability to breathe and die after using Fentanyl. Just as other opioids, Fentanyl affects the brain’s ability to produce mood-regulating brain chemicals like dopamine. Once the body develops a tolerance to opioids, individuals experience adverse effects when they do not use Fentanyl like depression, anxiety, and flu-like symptoms known as withdrawal.
Unknowingly Using Fentanyl on the Street
Far too often, individuals purchase drugs on the street which they assume to be heroin, cocaine, or another illicit substance. Instead, they unknowingly purchase a drug that includes Fentanyl mixed into the concoction. Dealers around the country are purchasing Fentanyl in bulk from Asian black markets in an attempt to save money, expand their product, and market stronger substances. As a result, individuals who buy their drugs from these dealers end up overdosing when they may have never even heard the world “Fentanyl” in their lifetimes.
Treating Fentanyl Drug Abuse with Treatment
Fortunately, if an individual experiences a Fentanyl overdose, there is an “opioid receptor antagonist”, knowns as Naloxone, that restores proper breathing and prevents death. To be effective, Naloxone should be administered as soon as possible. Once the brain experiences a lack of oxygen, even if awaken later, individuals can suffer lifelong consequences. If you witness a Fentanyl overdose, make sure that the individual receives immediate help in the form of a Naloxone injection at your nearest emergency medical center or treatment facility. Time is of the essence.
For individuals who have struggled with Fentanyl drug abuse for an extended period of time and are experiencing symptoms of addiction, treatment is effective. You can live life free from your addiction, and The Wellness Retreat and Recovery can help. We know that drug addiction is different for every individual because no person has experienced the same situations, people, and events as another. This is why we present treatment in a way that is individualized and specific to each person seeking help. Our programs include medical detox, family counseling, drug addiction treatment, traditional and holistic therapies, and aftercare services. From start to beginning, the compassionate and caring staff at The Wellness Retreat Recovery can help you live a life of recovery. To speak confidentially with an addiction admissions specialist, please give us a call today at 888-821-0238.