Fentanyl use is on the rise, and it’s only expected to get worse. While the drug is sometimes prescribed to treat postoperative pain and breakthrough pain from cancer, it is also made synthetically. Street fentanyl mostly comes from Mexican superlabs – the same ones that make and distribute meth. This means that the superlabs are well-equipped to make and transfer fentanyl and other synthetic drugs into the U.S.
Knowing that fentanyl is on our streets, it’s important to be aware of the dangers. This could save your life or someone else’s. Below you’ll find more information about the fentanyl crisis, why this drug is so dangerous and how holistic outpatient drug treatment can help.
Why is Fentanyl Such a Dangerous Drug?
Fentanyl is about 100 times stronger than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin. It takes just two milligrams of fentanyl to stop your breathing. The opioid is also tasteless and odorless, so you never know how much you’re getting. It’s sometimes laced into heroin or other synthetic drugs because it’s relatively cheap and easy to make.
Here are some facts that put into perspective why street fentanyl is nothing to mess with.
- Unique chemical structure. Heroin and fentanyl have different chemical structures. Both drugs bind to the opioid receptors in the brain, but fentanyl is able to reach the brain much faster. It also sticks more tightly to the receptors, which means only a small amount achieves a high.
- Highly addictive. Like other opioids, fentanyl floods the brain with dopamine. Because of the drug’s fast-acting nature, the high is even more intense. Users feel an incredible amount of pleasure and euphoria, making fentanyl highly addictive.
- Strong overdose potential. For the reasons mentioned above, fentanyl is an easy drug to overdose on. What makes this drug particularly scary is that an overdose can occur almost immediately, sometimes before the user is finished using it.
- Major cause of accidental death. Opioids are now the main driver of overdose deaths, and fentanyl is a major part of the problem. In 2017, more than 28,000 deaths occurred from synthetic opioids. West Virginia, Ohio and New Hampshire have the highest rates.
What About Prescription Fentanyl. Is it Just as Dangerous?
Pharmaceutical fentanyl is legally prescribed to some people to manage severe pain. When a health professional administers and oversees the medication, it can be safe. However, it is still potent and addictive. That said, fentanyl patches are just as dangerous as synthetic fentanyl. Even people who are prescribed fentanyl should never take another person’s patch. Here’s why.
Each patch contains a different dose of fentanyl, and one person’s dose can be fatal to another. Unfortunately, when people misuse or abuse fentanyl patches, they can still overdose on the drug, leading to coma, permanent brain damage or death. The risks for these complications increases the more the drug is abused. For example, some people combine multiple patches or extract the fentanyl from the patch to inject, ingest or snort it.
What are the Signs of Fentanyl Abuse?
Identifying an addiction to any drug, including fentanyl, is similar to diagnosing any other illness. The person receives an examination and a qualified medical professional uses a tool like the DSM to confirm the diagnosis.
However, most people who are struggling with addiction don’t call up their doctor and make an appointment. They hide it from family and friends and continue to spiral deeper into the problem. This is why it’s important for loved ones to recognize the signs and symptoms that something is wrong so they can seek the proper help.
Below are some general signs and symptoms of a possible fentanyl addiction.
- Lack of control. Using the drug for a longer time and in larger amounts, despite harmful consequences.
- Time spent. Excessive time is spent looking for the drug and using the drug.
- Cravings. After the drug wears off, there are cravings to use it again.
- Problems in relationships. Personal relationships are tested because of the drug use.
- Loss of interest. There is no longer an interest in healthy hobbies and activities like sports and book clubs.
- Tolerance. It takes more and more of the drug to achieve the desired effects.
- Withdrawal. Without the drug, there are physical and emotional withdrawal effects like irritability, anxiousness and vomiting.
Holistic Outpatient Treatment for Fentanyl Abuse
There are a number of treatment options when seeking help for a fentanyl addiction. This can feel overwhelming, but it also allows you to find a therapeutic program and setting that works for you. Inpatient and outpatient treatment have their own set of benefits, but today we are going to focus on outpatient treatment centers in Phoenix, as this option is growing in popularity.
Outpatient treatment is an excellent option if you’re not in a position to leave your home, job or family. It also tends to be more affordable, which is helpful if you don’t have good insurance. A growing body of research shows that people addicted to opioids achieve good results with outpatient care.
By choosing an intensive outpatient program, or IOP, you can receive a more intense level of treatment that includes counseling most days of the week. Here are some benefits to choosing outpatient drug rehab to treat a fentanyl addiction:
- Choose your schedule. Outpatient care is flexible. You can come for treatment in the mornings, afternoons or evenings, allowing you to work or go to school.
- Stay close to family. Being close to your support network can be a huge benefit to your recovery. You can see your family every day and include them in family therapy.
- More affordable. Because you’re not living at an outpatient facility, the costs are less. This can make treatment more attainable for you and your family and extend the length of time you receive counseling.
- Easier transition. People in outpatient rehab often have an easier time transitioning into their daily lives because they’re not cut off from the world for a period of time.
Call Continuum Recovery Center Today
If you or someone you know has a fentanyl addiction, it’s important to get help immediately. This drug is extremely potent and dangerous. A single dose the size of a grain of sand can be deadly. Reach out to Continuum Recovery Center today to learn more about our outpatient rehab drug treatment programs that are flexible, affordable and effective.