Fentanyl. Seems like everywhere you look you hear that word. Every time you turn on the news. Or scroll on social media. There it is. Fentanyl. It seems bad; seems like it hurt and kills a lot of people. But what is it? What makes people want to use it? And why is Fentanyl so dangerous?
What You Need to Know
Fentanyl belongs to a type of drug called opioids. Opioids are painkillers, and they can be natural or synthetic (man-made). You might also be familiar with the word “opiates.” They’re similar, but not exactly the same. “Opiates” refers to natural substances like morphine. “Opioids” include all the natural opiates, plus the synthetic ones.
As a prescription, fentanyl might be known by brand names like Actiq, Duragesic, or Sublimaze. You’ll usually see it as either a lozenge (cough drop) to be taken by mouth. Or, you might see it in a patch that sticks to the skin. Sort of like a nicotine patch. When prescribed by a doctor, fentanyl is often used to ease pain in cancer patients. Otherwise, you might see a doctor use it to help someone recovering from pain after surgery. Because fentanyl is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, it has a high potential for abuse.
Why is Fentanyl So Dangerous?
Using fentanyl for recreation can lead to addiction. Due to its strength, it’s easy to become dependent on fentanyl. Put simply, if you can’t quit using fentanyl, then you’re dependent. You might find yourself using more of it. Or using it more often. If you can’t function at work, or can’t maintain relationships, you ought to seek treatment. Withdrawing from fentanyl can be awful. Symptoms of withdrawal include restlessness, sweating, stomach cramps, weakness/pain in muscles and joints, nausea, and diarrhea. Withdrawing from fentanyl can even lead to hypertension and cardiac arrest.
But the problem with fentanyl isn’t just the drug itself. If you buy it on the street, it’s most likely been combined with something else. People do this to make the high more intense. Or to make it last longer. If you buy heroin or cocaine, it may be mixed with fentanyl. So you could be consuming fentanyl and not even know it! In 2018, over 31,000 people died after using synthetic opioids. And fentanyl isn’t just a problem for cities. These overdose deaths occur in suburbs and small towns too. Regardless of age, gender, or race, fentanyl presents a problem for everyone.
There is Hope
Take heart. In spite of statistics like these, there is hope. Thanks to the development of naloxone (Narcan, Evzio), many overdoses can be reversed. From 1996 to 2014, naloxone saved over 27,000 lives. Also, recovery from fentanyl addiction is possible. Treatment options exist and they are readily available. Quitting any opioid cold turkey is not recommended. Not only is it incredibly difficult, but withdrawal can be fatal. Anyone struggling with fentanyl addiction should seek a treatment option that includes an initial medical detox.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction to fentanyl or any other opioid, call Harmony Healing Center now at 866-475-6166.