Fentanyl is a particularly potent and dangerous opioid that can quickly lead to addiction, with a high possibility of overdose and death. If you or a loved one are suffering from an opioid addiction that may involve fentanyl, seek help immediately. Our compassionate team at The Ranch at Dove Tree can help you break your dependence on this harmful drug and provide you with the resources and hope you need to move forward.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that doctors sometimes prescribe to patients who are in serious pain, but it has quickly become part of the world of illicit drug dealing and drug use. Fentanyl is linked to the increase in overdose deaths from opioids. Illegal forms of it are highly dangerous, especially because fentanyl may be added to other drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine without the users’ knowledge.
What makes fentanyl so worrisome is that it is 50 to 100 times more potent than the average dose of morphine doctors prescribe, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Why is Fentanyl Use Increasing?
Fentanyl is highly lethal and yet it creates such an intense high that it is often sought after by those suffering from substance use disorder. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that in 2016, the use of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids surpassed the use of prescription opioids as the most common drug linked to overdoses in the country. That year, 42,248 people died from overdoses related to opioid use. Of those, synthetic opioids were behind 19,413 deaths.
Though commonly used by doctors for pain treatment, such as during cancer treatment and to relieve severe pain after surgery, fentanyl is often misused by patients. Brand names such as Actiq, Sublimaze, and Duragesic are some of the most commonly used prescriptions.
Does Your Loved One Have an Addiction to Fentanyl?
Fentanyl, in all forms, can be abused. Even if a doctor prescribes it, it is possible for a person to become addicted in a short time. Illegal varieties are particularly dangerous because they may be laced with other drugs. Those who use fentanyl typically will experience an intense euphoria and a hard come-down from it.
Some symptoms of fentanyl misuse in your loved one may include:
- Blurred vision
- Slowed breathing
- Vomiting or nausea
- Slowed heart rate
Over time, it is possible for a person to develop a tolerance to fentanyl. As a result, they may seek out more of the substance to achieve the same level of high. When addiction develops, finding more of the drug becomes the person’s top priority. This is because time without the drug in their body can lead to serious withdrawal symptoms, both physical and psychological. Withdrawal symptoms can begin as soon as 12 to 30 hours after the last dose and can include the following:
- Intense cravings for fentanyl
- Chills, diarrhea, stomach cramps
- Nausea or vomiting
- Pain (muscle cramps, bone pain)
- Restless sleep or trouble sleeping
- Sweating, weakness
Someone who is dependent on fentanyl will do whatever they can to stop the pain of withdrawal. This is why professional help is usually required to break a fentanyl dependence and addiction.
Can You Overdose on Fentanyl?
Opioids like fentanyl are so potent that they can cause an overdose on their first use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that, from April of 2020 to April of 2021, 75,673 deaths from opioid overdoses occurred in the U.S., up from 56,064 the year before. Many of these deaths are attributed to fentanyl. While it can be used safely when monitored by a physician, fentanyl is potentially deadly when taken illicitly. Someone who is not aware that their drugs contain fentanyl is at an especially high risk of overdose.
What Type of Fentanyl Addiction Treatment Is Available?
When you visit our Lubbock, Texas, drug treatment program, our team works closely with you to create a customized treatment plan to address your individual needs. A component of this is determining if you need detox.
Those who have a severe addiction to fentanyl will need a medically monitored detox program. Withdrawal from fentanyl can be a difficult and potentially life-threatening process. In a detox program, doctors are available to monitor your health and to provide medication to reduce pain or discomfort.
Most people need inpatient treatment, especially if they are in a high-risk environment. A traditional residential drug treatment program like RDT’s program in west Texas will provide treatment for withdrawal and dependency as well as both group and individual therapy to discuss the cause of the addiction and learn coping mechanisms to avoid relapse. Our team can also provide specialized treatment to help clients learn to manage pain without the use of fentanyl or other opioids.
Some people may benefit from outpatient therapy after residential treatment. It’s important to know just how addictive this drug is. People who use it over a period of time develop a high tolerance to it, which can be very difficult to break on your own. However, outpatient care may provide the support you need to continue your recovery.
What If You Are Suffering from Pain?
Many people begin using fentanyl because their doctor prescribed it. However, there are a number of non-opioid pain relievers that can help you with any chronic pain you have without encouraging your addiction. You can also take advantage of holistic modalities like physical therapy, yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and other non-pharmaceutical treatments as part of your pain management program.
Don’t Wait to Get Help for Fentanyl Addiction
If you are worried about fentanyl addiction, take the first step to receive help. Many men and women using this drug continue to do so because they believe there is no hope for recovery.
At The Ranch at Dove Tree, we believe that the only real solution to drug use is long-term, compassionate, individualized treatment. If you or someone you love is struggling with drug use and worried about overdose or other consequences, we are here to help.
We know that the fear of overdosing is very real. We also know that intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms make it nearly impossible for you to stop using on your own. Addiction and dependence are progressive diseases, and it can feel sometimes like there’s no hope of treating them. But long-term sobriety and wellness are possible, and we can help you get there.