How Bad Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is an extremely dangerous synthetic opioid. Unlike some other opioids that occur naturally, it is man-made for the purpose of helping aid people suffering from extreme pain. It can be administered for recovery after surgery, during cancer treatments or for recovery after a painful injury. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies fentanyl as a Schedule II controlled substance. This means that it is legal for medical use, however, it has an extremely high potential for abuse and addiction.

Understanding Fentanyl

Significantly stronger than morphine or oxycodone, Fentanyl can be fatal after even just one use. Due to its potency, even just a small amount can cause respiratory failure and lead to death. It can be administered through patches, lozenges, injection or as a nasal spray. It is one of the strongest painkillers available, and patients must be screened in order to obtain a prescription. It is usually prescribed to patients who already have an opioid tolerance and have outgrown the doses of other opioids.

Fentanyl is also sold on the black market, and is especially dangerous when mixed with other drugs. Drug dealers add it to certain drugs in order to increase its potency, however, these combinations can cause overdose and death. This is especially true when it is used alongside heroin. When someone uses fentanyl for the first time recreationally, they have a much higher risk of overdose because they do not have an opioid tolerance already in place.

What Fentanyl Does To Your Body

When someone uses fentanyl, it works immediately by decreasing how pain messages are received by the brain. It essentially cuts off communication between the pain point and the brain, allowing the user to feel relaxed and pain-free. This is how all opioids work, but what makes fentanyl different is its potency.

It is possible to become addicted to fentanyl without ever having abused it. This is due to the strength of the drug, and even in a hospital setting someone can become addicted with just one use. There are many immediate side effects that happen when taking it, as well as many long-term side effects when the drug is abused.

Short Term Effects

Since fentanyl is an opioid, it’s side effects are similar to that of heroin and other prescription opioids. Some of the damaging short term side effects of fentanyl are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of hands, feet or ankles
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Change in heart rate
  • Confusion
  • Sweating
  • Itchiness
  • Seizures
  • Change in eating habits
  • Depression
  • Nightmares
  • Change in sleeping patterns

Long Term Effects

When someone takes fentanyl for an extended period of time, there are many long-term side effects that can take place as well. These can include:

  • Addiction
  • Dependence
  • Drug-seeking behavior
  • Weight loss
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • High blood pressure
  • Weakness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Respiratory depression or failure
  • Overdose
  • Death

Help for Fentanyl Addiction

When someone is addicted to fentanyl, it can be very difficult to stop taking it. This is due to the dependency and tolerance that the body has built up for the drug. The more a person takes it, the more tolerance gets built up. When tolerance builds, dependency forms. When dependency forms, addiction behavior takes over.

Due to its extreme potency, it is very important for someone with a person with substance use disorderion to fentanyl to seek help immediately, as the addiction process can happen in just one use. In addition, it can only take one use for fentanyl to cause an overdose, or even death.

Chronic Pain Without Fentanyl

Many people who take fentanyl never intend on becoming addicted in any way to drugs. They do not have a history of addiction, nor are they intending on taking any from the black market. They are well-intentioned in getting help for their chronic pain. However, a person with substance use disorderion can still form and getting help for their addiction seems counterintuitive to their needs for their chronic pain.

The good news is: you do not have to choose between addiction or chronic pain. There are many ways you can manage chronic pain without the use of opioids. They include holistic therapies, physical therapy or non-addictive medications.

About Cliffside Malibu

Fentanyl is an extremely dangerous drug that should require treatment if someone becomes addicted. This is because safely detoxing from fentanyl under the supervision of medical professionals is extremely important. Cliffside Malibu has an on-staff addictionologist who can help safely wean you off of fentanyl, as well as provide you with medications to help ease any uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. We can help provide you with options to manage your chronic pain, as well as treat your addiction, so that you can live a life free of these disorders.

Each patient is then matched with one of these five stages of the Transtheoretical Model: Precontemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action and Maintenance. An individualized treatment plan is created based on their current stage of change. This process is in place to ensure that all our patients receive the best treatment path possible for their own specific need. Our goal is to move individuals through their treatment by assessing their readiness for change and formulating stage-matched interventions in order to move them through their respective stage.

It is the policy of Cliffside Malibu to ensure that all individuals who present with chemical dependency issues are assessed for the appropriate level of care. We strive to provide continuum of care including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment and outpatient services. Services are provided to individuals with a primary diagnosis of substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction. Individuals seeking treatment are assessed by qualified staff to ensure program criteria are met and that each individual admitted is placed in the appropriate level of care for treatment. The program is designed and structured for individuals who are in need of a supportive environment in order to maintain Sobriety.

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