What is Fentanyl?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic that is similar to morphine, but is 50 to 100 times more potent. It is a schedule II prescription drug, and it is typically used to treat patients with severe pain, for side effects surrounding aggressive cancer treatments or to manage pain after major surgery. It can be administered as an injection, a transdermal patch or as a lozenge. Under the medical supervision of a professional, there is little risk for addiction. However, that is not to be overlooked, as any exposure to Fentanyl at all will run the risk of addiction.

Since Fentanyl is an opioid, it works similar to heroin, morphine and other similar drugs. Fentanyl is known as a synthetic opioid, meaning that it was man-made and is not found naturally like morphine or codeine. It binds to the body’s opioid receptors which control pain and emotions. It drives up dopamine levels and produces a state of relaxation. This is why Fentanyl can be helpful for people experiencing extreme pain, however, it is extremely dangerous when not being used under medical supervision.

The Fentanyl Crisis

Due to its potency, Fentanyl has become a popular street drug. While it was created as a medical tool, it has quickly found its way to the streets. People who have legitimate prescriptions, such as elderly and disabled people, understand the street value of the drug and turn to selling it for extra money. Unfortunately, even medical staff have been caught stealing and selling Fentanyl for the same reason.

People who abuse Fentanyl feel as if they are above the opioid epidemic, because it is a man-made medical drug and not a street drug such as heroin. Fentanyl addicts are often in denial, since they have a perception that they are not typical drug abusers. However, this is not the case. Fentanyl is even more addictive and potent than heroin, and Fentanyl users often turn to heroin if they cannot obtain their fix of Fentanyl as easily in the moment.


Due to it’s extremely high potency, Fentanyl is highly addictive and an epidemic has developed around the abuse of the drug. Overdose deaths related to Fentanyl have skyrocketed in the last few years, from around 10,000 in 2015 to almost 30,000 in 2017 according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. When Fentanyl is mixed with other substances, such as cocaine or alcohol, the effects become more severe and often leads to complete respiratory failure.

When is it Time to Get Help?

If you think you or a loved one is addicted to fentanyl, look for these signs:

  • Extreme dizziness, head dropping and body falling
  • Opening Fentanyl patches to eat the beads inside
  • Obtaining Fentanyl without a prescription
  • Changes in social circle
  • The need to take Fentanyl in order to feel “normal”
  • Withdrawn from usual hobbies and activities
  • Changes in sleeping patterns, eating patterns and hygiene patterns
  • Considerable weight gain

If you or a loved one is experiencing a Fentanyl addiction, it is important to get help right away. Due to Fentanyl’s extreme potency, it can cause extensive damage to the body and is very lethal.

Don’t go through it alone

Discontinuing the use of any opioid alone is dangerous, and can give you severe withdrawal symptoms. These painful and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms may prove to be too difficult to handle, and cravings for Fentanyl will skyrocket. This can cause a potentially fatal relapse. Inpatient treatment centers offer a medically-supervised detox to help ease these symptoms and make long-lasting sobriety much easier to obtain.

Make sure you open up to someone about your addiction to Fentanyl. If you need help, it is important to speak up and confront your misgivings to save your life. Addiction can often lead to strained relationships with family and important friends, however, these relationships can be saved. If you feel as if you have no one to turn to, give us a call. Many of our staff have been where you are, and we can help you through this so that you do not become a statistic this year.

About Cliffside Malibu

If you are ready to get help for your addiction to Fentanyl, give us a call. Our admissions specialists are available 24/7 to confidentially answer any questions and help workout all logistics. Our experienced medical staff will help you safely and comfortably detox from Fentanyl, and we offer a beautiful environment to refocus and start a new chapter in your life. Your customized treatment plan will include therapy as well as holistic techniques such as yoga and meditation. Give yourself time to reset and break free from the prison that Fentanyl has held you in for so long.

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.

For more information on Cliffside Malibu, visit cliffsidemalibu.com