How is Fentanyl Abused?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate pain reliever used to treat severe pain.
There are many health benefits to those prescribed this medication but the risk for developing both emotional and physical dependence is high, especially for those abusing the medication. How is fentanyl abused?
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate pain reliever. It is typically prescribed to patients with an injury, who are experiencing severe pain, or after a patient has undergone surgery. Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and over 100 times stronger than morphine. Fentanyl is classified as a Schedule II drug due to its high potential for abuse and the possibility of leading to severe psychological or physical dependence. Fentanyl is highly addictive and users often develop a tolerance for the drug. Unfortunately, despite many health benefits it is often abused. Many teens abuse fentanyl due to the feeling of euphoria and a relaxed state of mind it produces.
How is Fentanyl Abused?
When used properly, fentanyl effectively reduces severe pain after sustaining an injury or after a patient undergoes surgery. People who abuse fentanyl use alternative methods of administration to increase and intensify the effects produced by the drug. Fentanyl is generally prescribed in these forms: patch, lollipop, dissolvable tongue film and pills that dissolve in the cheek. Fentanyl is prescribed with a time-release mechanism to ensure that the effects produced by the drug are gradual. People who abuse the drug disable the slow-release mechanism of the drug in order to feel the effects more quickly or all at one. This is extremely dangerous. The primary reason fentanyl is abused is that it is one of the strongest and most potent opiate drugs available. It produces euphoria, something that addicts seek endlessly. Addicts obtain this drug by obtaining a prescription or though a variety of illegal channels. People who abuse fentanyl often develop a tolerance to the drug and consistently require higher doses to achieve the same high; this leads to serious health risks, addiction and withdrawal symptoms. In addition, people who abuse fentanyl often combine the drug with others like, like cocaine and heroin. This significantly increases the risk of accidental overdose.
Signs of Fentanyl Use
The signs and symptoms of fentanyl use vary among individuals. Factors to consider are the how long the person has been abusing the drug, how often the drug is taken and the route of administration. Here are some signs and symptoms of fentanyl abuse:
– Difficulty walking
– Muscle stiffness
– Slowed/altered heart rate
– Labored breathing
– Slurred speech
– Weight loss
– Visual hallucinations
– Nausea and vomiting
– Itching and scratching
– Pinpoint pupils
– Unconsciousness, coma, death
– “Doctor shopping”
– Stealing or borrowing fentanyl
– Forging prescriptions
– Risky behaviors
– Decreased inhibitions
– Neglecting family or personal responsibilities
– Difficulty maintaining personal relationships
– Taking higher doses than what was prescribed
– Crushing and snorting pills to increase effects
– Smoking/injecting the drug
Withdrawal from Fentanyl
Withdrawal from fentanyl can be extremely uncomfortable. Withdrawal from fentanyl is suggested to occur under medical supervision. The fear of experiencing withdrawal symptoms often drives the user to desperately seek the drug. Once a person has reached a point in their using to experience severe withdrawal symptoms it is likely that there has been major destruction in their life. Besides the wreckage their addiction may have caused, here are some symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal:
– Muscle twitching
– Muscle pain and cramps
– Increased heart rate
Becoming Addicted to Fentanyl
People who use and abuse fentanyl are at risk for developing addiction. The health risks associated with fentanyl addiction can be fatal. If you suspect someone may be abusing the drug you should seek help immediately. Those who are addicted to fentanyl often use alternative routes of administration, such as disarming the slow-release mechanism in order to achieve a more rapid and intense high; this increases the likelihood of accidental overdose and death.
Fentanyl Abuse is a Rising Concern
Fentanyl has become one of the most commonly abused prescription pain medications in the United States. Those addicted to fentanyl go to great lengths to maintain their addiction. Doctor shopping, forging prescriptions, stealing drugs and buying the drug illegally off the streets are common ways people addicted to fentanyl continue the abuse. The health risks associated with fentanyl abuse are extremely dangerous and can result in accidental overdose, coma and death. If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, it is imperative that you seek help. Addiction is a disease. Addiction specialists can help. An addiction specialist will best be able to determine the right course of action. Outpatient treatment programs and sober living homes provide a safe and drug-free environment where addicts can receive effective treatment, gain the support of a recovery community and experience emotional and physical recovery from addiction. If you would like more information about fentanyl detox and long term recovery, please do not hesitate to call us at (877)799-1985.