Fentanyl, an opioid, is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine and it is frequently prescribed for severe pain. However it is also manufactured and sold illegally. In the U.S., the Prohibited Substances Act classifies fentanyl as a schedule II controlled substance with a high potential for abuse that can result in serious psychological or physical dependence.
In the United States alone, more than 75,000 people died between April 2020 and April 2021 as a result of an overdose containing synthetic opioids mainly fentanyl and fentanyl analogues apart from methadone. More than 150 people die every day as a result of synthetic opioid overdoses, such as fentanyl. In 2020, some 356,000 adults and children aged 12 and above misused prescribed fentanyl drugs. There were around 123,000 emergency room visits connected to fentanyl in 2021. More than 4,000% more fentanyl traffickers were active between 2014 and 2018.
These statistics show how a fentanyl addiction is very dangerous since it can result in addiction or a fatal overdose and yet, there is hope. Those who struggle with fentanyl addiction can receive evidence based addiction treatment that will help them live a life free of the drug.
Fentanyl, a synthetic drug generated from the opioid poppy (Papaver somniferum), like morphine, is frequently used to treat patients with extreme pain, especially after surgery. Doctors may also recommend fentanyl to cancer patients with chronic pain who have grown used to less potent opioids, who have chronic pain or other brief exacerbations of pain. Patients with chronic pain who are physically tolerant to other potent opioids may also be treated with fentanyl as well. Legal and prescribed fentanyl is marketed under the brand names Actiq®, Duragesic®, and Sublimaze®.
Prescribed fentanyl and the purpose and method of use include:
- Actiq®, which is administered sublingually (like a lollipop). used in situations where a person is already taking painkillers
- Sublimaze®, which is occasionally combined with anaesthetics and used in hospitals, is administered as an injection either before and after surgery.
- Abstral®, which is in pill form, dissolves quickly and is placed under the tongue for prompt relief. Usually prescribed to those who are tolerant to opioids.
- Duragesic® used as a dermal patch is intended to treat moderate to severe pain and the effects can last up to 3 days
- Subsys®, an under-the-tongue spray that provides rapid pain relief. used to relieve cancer discomfort.
- Lazanda® in the form of a nasal spray that works in a manner akin to regular decongestant sprays, is frequently employed in cancer pain relief cases.
Fentanyl is given to people who need pain relief as an injection, lozenge, or patch. The illicitly made fentanyl, on the other hand, is produced in the form of a powder or liquid. Illegal fentanyl has no taste or smell and is inexpensive to make. It is frequently blended with other narcotics like heroin, cocaine, MDMA and methamphetamine which is very often without the users’ knowledge. Illicit fentanyl is a less expensive option because it requires relatively little to induce a high. This is particularly dangerous when other drug users such as cocaine, heroin, MDMA or meth addicts are unaware that their drug may include the inexpensive but harmful ingredient fentanyl. They may be taking higher amounts of opioids than their bodies are accustomed to, which increases their risk of overdosing. Additionally, it is pressed into pills that resemble other prescription opioids and drugs, such Xanax® or Adderall®. Illegal fentanyl is also sold as a liquid that is added to food, nasal sprays, eye drops, and drops onto blotter paper.
Fentanyl has a few well-known street names, similar to other narcotics. The following are other names for fentanyl:
- China woman
- Dance mania
- White China
- China Town
- Dance Fever
- Great Bear
- King Ivory,
- Murder 8
- Tango & Cash
The opioid receptors in the body, which also bind endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller, are where fentanyl binds to the brain’s pain and emotion-controlling regions. Beta-endorphins, one of several forms of endorphins, are released during or following the body’s physiological reaction to a stressor or pain. When opioids attach to those receptors, the body feels similar sensations of both pain alleviation and pleasure in its reward circuit. Endorphins are also released as a response of enjoyable activities including laughter, sex, and exercise.
With repeated or prolonged use, the brain becomes accustomed to the presence of opioids like fentanyl, which can make it challenging to feel pleasure without them. This is a strong indicator of someone who has an opioid use disorder.
It is crucial to recognise the signs of an opioid addiction such as a fentanyl addiction in order to receive treatment in the early stages. A fentanyl addiction, like any other substance addiction is a medical disorder that can be treated. It involves intricate connections between the brain’s circuits, heredity, environment, and events throughout the person’s life. Those who suffer from addiction use drugs such as fentanyl compulsively and keep doing so despite the negative effects.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, which is used by clinicians who are trained to diagnose people with opioid use disorders and other substance use disorders, states that a person may have a fentanyl addiction if they exhibit two or more sets of symptoms. The following are some of the signs of an opioid use disorder:
- overusing opioids more than intended
- overusing opioids for longer than intended
- acquiring, using, or recuperating from the effects of fentanyl or other opioids for an extended period of time
- being driven to use fentanyl or other opioids by craving
- difficulty at work, school, or home because of use
- keep using opioids like fentanyl although it breaks down relationships
- giving up activities once enjoyed because of opiate use
- consuming painkillers or fentanyl frequently in physically dangerous situations
- using opioids despite being aware that they can lead to health or mental issues
- acquiring a tolerance to opioids
- experiencing withdrawal symptoms after ceasing use of the drug
It is even possible to build tolerance and suffer withdrawal symptoms even when using fentanyl as medically directed. However, if a person is receiving a prescription for fentanyl or another opioid, the final two criteria do not apply to the diagnosis of OUD. Long-term opiate use naturally leads to tolerance and dependency. When becoming tolerant to fentanyl, a need to take more of the medication to get the intended result is necessary, whether that is to get the euphoric feeling or as pain relief. As the same amount of the drug is used over time, the sensitivity to the effects of the drug decreases.
When someone who has become dependent on fentanyl stops using it, they experience withdrawal symptoms. These could consist some of:
- nausea or vomiting
- bones and muscles aches
- cold flashes
- involuntary leg movements
- extreme cravings
When a person’s opioid usage starts to control their lives and they continue to use drugs despite the consequences, they have an opioid use disorder. It is impossible to pinpoint precisely who of those who use fentanyl will get addicted. However, those who start using drugs at an early age, use them for extended periods of time, or have a parent with a substance use disorder are more likely to develop addiction.
Fentanyl can have negative side effects, much like other medication, including:
- depressed breathing
- extreme elation
Those who use fentanyl or other opioid prescriptions are more likely to overdose. When fentanyl causes serious adverse and even life-threatening symptoms, an overdose has occurred. Opioid overdose is regarded as a medical emergency but can be reversed with the administration of a medicine called naloxone. When people overdose on fentanyl, their breathing can be dangerously laboured or cease entirely., decreasing the amount of oxygen getting to the brain and causing a condition called hypoxia. Hypoxia is very serious and can lead to coma, brain damage, or even death.
Many drug traffickers mix the less expensive fentanyl with more expensive narcotics like heroin, cocaine, MDMA, and methamphetamine to boost their value, making it challenging to identify the exact drug ingredient that is responsible for an overdose. When administered quickly, the medication naloxone can treat a fentanyl overdose. It functions by quickly attaching to opioid receptors and preventing opioid medication effects. Fentanyl, however, is more potent than other opioid medications like morphine and may need several doses of naloxone.
As a result, the most important thing to do if you think someone has overdosed on fentanyl is to contact emergency medical services immediately. If a medical team suspects an opioid overdose is involved naloxone is quickly administered. Naloxone is offered as a nasal spray such as NARCAN® or KLOXXADO® and as an injectable solution. After the final dosage of naloxone is administered, the person should continue to be observed for another two hours to ensure respiration does not slow down or stop
There are rules in certain countries that permit pharmacists to give out naloxone without a patient’s own prescription. The nasal spray variants of naloxone can be used to revive an overdosing person by a loved one.
Fentanyl functions by attaching to the body’s opioid receptors, which are located in the parts of the brain that regulate emotions and pain. After taking opioids repeatedly, the brain becomes used to the drug and loses elation sensitivity, making it difficult to experience pleasure from sources other than the opioid. Persistent drug use and drug seeking become a way of life for addicted persons.
Fentanyl’s potency makes it very addictive. Even when using fentanyl on a prescription as directed by a doctor, a person may develop dependence, which is marked by withdrawal symptoms after stopping the drug. Although a person might be reliant on a substance without being addicted to it, addiction can occasionally follow dependence.
The most severe type of substance use disease is addiction (SUD). SUDs are characterised by obsessive drug seeking and use that can be challenging to rein in, even when it has negative effects. When someone is struggling with a drug addiction, they continue to take drugs even though it is detrimental to their health or causes problems at work, school, or within the family. Mild to severe SUDs are possible.
When fentanyl addicts quit taking the drug, they may experience severe withdrawal symptoms that can start as soon as a few hours after the last dose.
Many people find it exceedingly difficult to discontinue taking fentanyl because of these uncomfortable fentanyl withdrawal symptoms, which can also be very painful. For fentanyl and other opioid withdrawal, medications are currently being researched. Lofexidine, a non-opioid medication intended to lessen opioid withdrawal symptoms, has received American FDA approval. Additionally, a small electrical nerve stimulator called the NSS-2 Bridge device, which is positioned behind the user’s ear, can be used to help manage symptoms for up to five days during the acute withdrawal phase. The U. S. FDA approved the mobile medical app reSET® in December 2018 to assist in the treatment of opioid use disorders. This programme is a prescription for cognitive behavioural therapy and ought to be used in conjunction with care that entails contingency planning and buprenorphine.
Fentanyl addiction has been demonstrated to respond well to medicine combined with evidenced based behavioural therapy, just like any other opioid addictions.
Buprenorphine and methadone aids in reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms by binding to the same opioid receptors in the brain as fentanyl. Naltrexone, a different medication, disables opioid receptors and stops fentanyl from working.
Behavioural therapy for opioid addiction, including fentanyl addiction, can help people change their attitudes and drug-related behaviours, avoiding or dealing with triggers, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and maintain adherence to medicine. Several instances include:
- the patient’s drug usage expectations and behaviours are changed through cognitive behavioural therapy, which also helps the patient handle stress and triggers.
- contingency management, which rewards patients with “points” based on clean drug testing via a voucher-based system. The things that promote healthy life can be obtained with these points.
- a patient’s conflicted sentiments about changing are addressed by the patient-centred counselling technique known as motivational interviewing.
These behavioural treatment strategies have been successful, particularly when combined with medication. Visit our The Hills Rehab Chiang Mai main website page to learn more about our bespoke fentanyl addiction treatment.
Although the path to recovery from fentanyl addiction can be challenging and sometimes painful, evidence based and medicinal fentanyl addiction treatment is essential. There are numerous treatment methods available that aim to assist you or your loved one in escaping the grip of fentanyl addiction. With the correct resources for treatment for addiction to fentanyl, recovery is both feasible and attainable.
For you and your loved ones, the top-class luxury rehab facility, The Hills Rehab Chiang Mai offers a variety of therapeutic choices. There is no justification for delaying; the moment to get the help you need is now. Some of the fentanyl addiction treatment options offered by The Hills are:
Typically, detoxification comes first in all drug addiction treatment programmes. The term “detox” refers to the process of ridding the body of all substances. This helps calm some of the harsh withdrawal symptoms. Detox also makes way for additional therapeutic approaches. Addiction cannot be cured by detox alone, although it is a crucial first step.
Since fentanyl is such a potent and effective agent, other drugs may occasionally be utilised in the course of treatment. The same opioid receptors in the brain that fentanyl binds can also be occupied by drugs like methadone and buprenorphine. These may aid in lowering fentanyl addiction-related withdrawal symptoms and strong cravings. When the time comes, The Hills will ensure the suitability for medicinal treatment.
Therapy is one of the most popular approaches to treating addiction. Many individuals overlook the fact that a person struggling with fentanyl addiction can start along the path to recovery, and lead a healthy and fulfilling life. The Hills Rehab provides a range of individualised therapeutic choices. The following are typical forms of therapy used for the treatment of fentanyl addiction:
- Motivational interviewing assists in encouraging the subject to accept positive change
- Counselling such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) focuses on altering ideas and behaviours can also regulate stress and prevent triggers
- Group therapy is a fantastic way to talk about challenges and the sharing of issues with others who are going through the same thing
These are but a few of the more typical forms of fentanyl addiction therapy. Since treatment is entirely individualised, some alternatives could be more effective for the person treated than others. The Hills will assess and discuss how to best assist you in finding the best fentanyl addiction treatment options that suit your needs.
Fentanyl addiction is one type of addiction that can seriously harm a person’s health and quality of life. It may be time to seek fentanyl addiction therapy if you or someone you love is battling with addiction. Our enthusiastic team is prepared to assist you on your journey to a better, healthier life. For additional information on services and treatment alternatives, get in touch with us at The Hills Rehab, Chiang Mai right away.
Our fentanyl addiction treatment facility makes it easier to focus on rehabilitation in a welcoming setting by removing the burden of home, work, family and other triggers..
After finishing a formal treatment programme for fentanyl treatment, aftercare, also known as ongoing care, prepares you for long-term recovery with community support and responsibility. It may include mutual-help groups and/or sober living arrangements.
The length of therapy is determined by the extent of your addiction, your individual treatment requirements, and how actively you participate in your treatment. It is always recommended that a 28 day programme is a good starting point with regular progress assessments to determine how the treatment plan is effective.
Recovery from substance use disorders such as fentanyl addiction requires a lifetime commitment because they are chronic diseases. Therefore, maintaining your goals after treatment and establishing a lifestyle and support network that helps you do so can help you live a healthy, drug-free life in the long run.