Fentanyl is a drug belonging to a type of substances known as opioids, and it’s often prescribed as a treatment for severe pain. It’s a lot more powerful than any opioid. To put it into perspective, it’s 100 times more potent than morphine, which is a highly popular opioid.
When prescribed, the drug can come in the form of a skin patch or a shot
Besides relieving your pain, you can also get easily addicted to fentanyl. In reality, it’s used illegally as a recreational drug. It’s considered among the deadliest illegal drugs in the United States. Fentanyl is known to be far more powerful than heroin, morphine, and other opioids.
Fentanyl is not even prescribed widely. Doctors are very careful as taking the drug carries lots of risks. Here are some of them.
Fentanyl is the most potent opioid medication available
Fentanyl is 100 times stronger than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin. This is why it’s so effective in stopping pain. Even then, doctors exercise a lot of caution in prescribing this drug. Most of the time, they only give it to you when milder opioids no longer work.
Also, fentanyl is only prescribed for very intense forms of pain, such as when you just came out of surgery. Some cancer patients are also given this drug for their pain.
Fentanyl is a highly regulated drug
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has declared fentanyl as a Schedule II drug. In other words, fentanyl has a high tendency for abuse and produces drug dependence. Because of this, doctors cannot just prescribe the drug to anyone, and you can’t buy it without a prescription.
On the other side of this coin are people who abuse the medication. Since it’s relatively cheap, easily accessible, and already potent in small quantities, it is very attractive to users that are bogus. Besides being far stronger, Fentanyl can be a great deal easier to research than other antipsychotic medication. Some drug dealers would also combine it with heroin and cocaine for some additional pleasurable consequences.
Fentanyl acts much faster than other opioids
Fentanyl binds to opioid receptors in your brain, similar to the action of other opioids. But fentanyl does this a lot faster – almost instantly compared to others.
Here’s a comparison so you can visualize it better. Heroin and morphine – two very common opioids – take some time before they bind to your brain’s opioid receptors. Morphine takes longer than heroin to have an effect, while both of them are significantly slower than fentanyl.
Because of how fast it takes effect, you can easily develop an addiction for this drug.
Fentanyl is deadly even at very small doses
In some cases, as little as 0.25mg of the drug can prove fatal. Thus, if you’re addicted to fentanyl, you can also overdose on it really easily. If you do, you’ll experience symptoms such as:
- Very slow breathing
- Very low blood pressure
- Very slow heartbeat
- Muscle fatigue
- Loss of consciousness
- Dizziness, confusion
- Bluish lips and nails
The drug’s effects on breathing and pulse are the most dangerous. If it stops your breathing, heartbeat, or both, that can result in death instantly.
So, if you have these symptoms of overdose, get to an ER straight away. Call 911 or ask for help.
Also, as a precaution, have some Naloxone sinus spray at the ready. This can relieve the overdose symptoms and help with breathing. However, symptoms can return after a couple of minutes, so you still need to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Illegal versions of fentanyl exist
Compared to other illicit drugs, fentanyl is relatively easy to get. It’s easy to counterfeit, so a lot of drug dealers sell illicit fentanyl on the streets.
Some drug manufacturers even add fentanyl to other counterfeit drugs. They are sold as milder drugs, like heroin, but are actually laced with fentanyl to make the effects stronger. Lots of drug users like this, but they expose themselves to a greater risk of fatal overdose.
Fentanyl addiction changes your lifestyle
When you become addicted to fentanyl, a lot of your behaviors change. Here are some signs to watch out for:
- You spend less time hanging out with your friends.
- Your family is becoming less of a priority to you.
- You find that you no longer enjoy things you used to be passionate about, like sports, hobbies, and personal projects.
- You spend a lot of time and money in finding and using fentanyl.
- Fentanyl has become your favorite stress reliever.
- You have a new set of friends, and they are people who are also addicted to fentanyl.
- You cannot live normally anymore without the drug.
- You get into financial trouble and lose too much money because of the drug.
- You try to quit your drug habits but can’t.
- You get into fights with people who show concern about your addiction.
What will I do if I’m addicted to fentanyl?
Don’t worry. Your addiction can be treated. You may have to enroll in an inpatient rehab center, where you would stay for one to three months. Here, you will undergo detox to wean you off the drug as well as a number of psychological therapies. These treatments will help you develop a drug-free lifestyle.
Also, don’t try to quit the drug cold turkey. Otherwise, you’ll be overwhelmed by withdrawal symptoms and you may quickly go back to your old drug habits. But if you go through detox, medical professionals help wean you off the drug slowly. Your dose is gradually decreased until you can live with taking none of it entirely.
After that, you will go through psychotherapy as well as socialization therapies. Through these, you will develop healthier pastimes and ways of coping with stress. Pretty soon, you will no longer have the urge to take fentanyl.
The entire rehab procedure may take time, but in the end, it’s worth the effort. You would be able to live a full, happy, and drug-free life once again.