Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin or morphine. Drug traffickers often mix fentanyl into other substances because it is cheap to manufacture and a small amount goes a long way. Once relatively unknown outside hospitals, fentanyl is now responsible for a dramatic rise in overdose deaths.
Why Do People Use Fentanyl?
As states continue restricting opioid prescriptions, many people who are addicted to opioids have started buying their drugs illegally. Because fentanyl can closely resemble other substances, like legitimate prescription medications, people may take it without meaning to.
According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, nearly half of all counterfeit pills tested contained a lethal dose of fentanyl. Since it’s difficult to distinguish genuine pills from fake ones, people who accidentally take fentanyl in this way can experience a life-threatening overdose. For most people, a dose as small as two milligrams is enough to be fatal.
Fentanyl binds more fully to opioid receptors than other drugs, which is what makes it so powerful and potentially deadly. Drug distributors use it to get people hooked more quickly and keep them coming back for larger doses.
Fentanyl Withdrawal and Overdose
Because it is an opioid drug, fentanyl can cause intense euphoria while simultaneously affecting the central nervous system as a depressant. After becoming physically and psychologically dependent on fentanyl, you can experience various uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit. Often, a desire to avoid withdrawal keeps the cycle of addiction going.
Public awareness has grown about the lifesaving drug called naloxone (brand name Narcan), which can reverse an opioid overdose. Most opioid overdose deaths happen due to respiratory failure, and naloxone can block this effect.
People who are hooked on fentanyl and do not want to stop using this drug may continue with their self-destructive behavior, believing it is “safe” because a friend can administer naloxone if they spot overdose warning signs like disorientation, vomiting, loss of consciousness or shallow breathing.
Fentanyl Addiction and Treatment
Opioids like fentanyl are highly addictive because they act directly on the brain’s reward center. After only a short period of use, fentanyl can change brain chemistry and trigger a long-term dependency that is hard to walk away from, despite mounting negative effects.
As someone becomes addicted to fentanyl, they also develop vivid memories linking drug use with pleasure. These can trigger drug cravings and perpetuate a relapse, even among people who are motivated and determined to quit. That’s why a comprehensive treatment plan is so essential for helping fentanyl users reclaim their lives.
We’re Ready to Take Your Call
Medical detoxification is the safest way to quit fentanyl or any other opioid. During this initial phase of recovery, treatment professionals will monitor your vital signs in a comfortable environment, easing withdrawal symptoms and ensuring your safety. Hope Lodge’s team makes the detox process as comfortable as possible, preparing you to move seamlessly into the next stage of treatment.
At Hope Lodge, our clinical team has handpicked every evidence-based therapy we use. At our small, private center at Lake Arrowhead, you will receive individualized care tailored to your specific needs. Whether you’re seeking treatment for the first time or looking to restart your recovery journey, our credentialed staff members are here to help you achieve long-lasting recovery. Contact us today to learn more.