The beginning of one pandemic caused us to forget about another ongoing epidemic. Hearing about how fentanyl was ravaging the country was a popular headline at the start of the year. Now, it’s buried in COVID-19 headlines.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that the fentanyl epidemic is over. While fentanyl proves a dangerous drug when misused, it has many health benefits that have been glossed over.
As with many other prescription drugs, if you take it incorrectly, it causes problems. Fentanyl’s primary purpose is to help treat severe pain. Read on to discover the beginner’s guide to fentanyl abuse.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. While its legal uses are prescription-only, it is also manufactured and sold illegally. Its primary applications are for post-surgery patients in severe pain.
It can also be used for patients who suffer from severe chronic pain. Tolerance does occur when using fentanyl. In other words, the more you take, the more your body adjusts to the drug, and the more of the medicine your body needs for efficacy.
Synthetic opioids such as fentanyl are the leading cause of overdose deaths in the United States. The reason fentanyl has such a high overdose rate is because of the drug’s potency.
How People Use Fentanyl
When a doctor prescribes it, fentanyl is injected into the patient, or patched on their arm. In other cases, doctors distribute a fentanyl lozenge.
In some cases, illegal manufacturers create carfentanyl, which is more potent than fentanyl. These illegal manufacturers sell their contraband in powder, blot, eye drop, nasal spray, or pill form.
Fentanyl Effects On the Brain
Like other opioids such as heroin, fentanyl binds to the brain’s opioid receptors. These receptors control pain and emotions. Once the brain adapts to the drug over time, the brain becomes less sensitive to the effects, which makes it more challenging to feel the drug’s benefits.
This decreased sensitivity can lead to addiction.
- Extreme euphoria
- Difficulty breathing
Fentanyl is highly toxic and can easily cause an overdose. Overdoses occur when drugs interfere with the body’s natural function. Overdosing on fentanyl can cause the breath to slow or stop.
When the lungs don’t get enough oxygen, neither does the brain, resulting in a condition called hypoxia. Hypoxia leads to comas, permanent brain damage, and death.
Fentanyl is highly addictive due to its potency. Once someone stops taking fentanyl, after taking it for an extended time, they experience withdrawal symptoms. People who are addicted to fentanyl and stop using the drug may experience the following withdrawal symptoms:
- Muscle and bone pain
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- cold flashes with goosebumps
- Leg and arm twitching
- Severe cravings
Behavioral therapies are the most common form of treatment for opioid addiction. Doctors also use medications such as Buprenorphine and methadone to ween patients off fentanyl. These drugs access the same receptors as fentanyl while preventing adverse effects.
Use This Guide to Fentanyl Abuse As Prevention and Guidance
When used correctly, fentanyl can help patients with severe conditions and pain. But make no mistake, fentanyl is a dangerous drug that can be fatal when misused.
Use this guide to fentanyl abuse for further reference on how to approach potential hazards. If you or one of your loved ones is showing signs of addiction, don’t hesitate, call our treatment center now to see what help we have to offer.