What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a painkiller. However, it is an extremely powerful synthetic opioid painkiller used to treat severe pain. It is usually administered to a patient after a form of surgery. In some cases, it can be administered to patients suffering from chronic pain, but only if they have become tolerant to the use of other forms of opioids, meaning these other opioids are no longer having the desired painkilling effect.
Fentanyl is a similar product to morphine, but Fentanyl is far stronger. In fact, it is 50 – 100 times stronger, which makes it particularly dangerous. It can only be used under prescription, but it is also popular in the illegal drug market. In the United States, synthetic opioids such as Fentanyl are now the leading cause of drugs overdose. Fentanyl is by far the most common synthetic opioid to cause these drug-related deaths. In 2019, 59.8% of all opioid-related deaths were found to be caused by Fentanyl. The prescription form of Fentanyl comes under many different brand names, including Actiq®, Duragesic®, and Sublimaze® to name a few.
How is Fentanyl Used?
Suppose Fentanyl is being used for its intended purpose, painkilling, and has therefore been prescribed by a doctor. In that case, a patient will either have the Fentanyl administered in a various number of ways. Such as a shot or a patch stuck to the skin, like a nicotine patch, or it will be given in the form of a lozenge that the patient will suck on.
On the illegal drugs market, however, things are different. With no real quality checks in place, the overdose potential is much higher as the labs that make the Fentanyl have different drug levels in each product. Addicts will take the illegal Fentanyl in powder form or as drops on paper. It can also be mixed with eye drops and even nasal sprays. It also comes in pill form too and can look rather similar to regularly prescribed opioids, which can cause confusion in reference to strength.
In some cases, overdose occurs because drug dealers are using Fentanyl to mix with their other drug products, which means that the addict does not know that they are even consuming this extremely potent drug. Common drugs Fentanyl can be found in include cocaine, heroin, MDMA, and methamphetamine, meaning that the addict does not know that they are even consuming this extremely potent drug. Drug dealers do this due to the fact that Fentanyl is far cheaper produce and bulks up their existing products, leading to more sales and money. Taking Fentanyl when the body has little to no tolerance can cause more overdoses. Building tolerance to any drug is a process that takes time, and unknowingly taking such as string painkiller has disastrous effects.
What is a Fentanyl High?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, which creates the same or similar effects in the brain as other opioids. Smoking opium was a popular choice back in the day, but the use of heroin has replaced it. Both these products are natural and are made using the opium poppy plant. Fentanyl, on the other hand, is the man-made hyper-potent equivalent to these drugs. In a similar way to heroin, or opium, morphine, or any other form of opioid, Fentanyl binds to the brain’s opioid receptor. These receptors control how the brain controls pain and emotions leading to effects like extreme happiness, euphoria, and drowsiness.
It can also cause many far more negative effects such as sedation, breathing difficulties, confusion, nausea, constipation, and even unconsciousness, overdose, and death. Someone who takes opioids regularly can become addicted to it, and Fentanyl is very addictive due to its high potency. An addict no longer feels pleasure in any other life activity and needs to take the drug just to live. This means that illegal Fentanyl use can very easily overtake someone’s life. Additionally, when using opioids, a lot of tolerance can lead drug addicts to need to take more and more of the drug to achieve the same results.
How to Treat Fentanyl Addiction
An addict can go to drug rehab to cure their addiction. Sometimes partial hospitalization may be required as opposed to full admittance. However, withdrawal from Fentanyl can be quite debilitating, causing muscle and bone pain, diarrhea and vomiting, uncontrollable leg movements, sleeping disorders, cold flashes, to name a few, and it is usually best not to go cold turkey. Other treatments such as outpatient rehab have good results. Sometimes a mix of treatments such as counseling, CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), medications, as well as a range of others needs to be used to cure a patient of Fentanyl addiction.