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By Boris M | 30 March, 2020 Published in Guides
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Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is prescribed to patients suffering from cancer and is approved by the Food and Drug Association for treating severe pain.

Fentanyl is up to 100 times the strength of morphine, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Individuals that are suffering from moderate pain use Fentanyl to stabilize their symptoms.

Fentanyl is prescribed to patients in lozenges or transdermal patches. It also can be adminstered by a shot from a doctor or taken by tablet.

There has been a major increase in the number of people that use Fentanyl in the United Kingdom. Additionally, there has also been a rise in the amount of people that have overdosed on Fentanyl, but research has shown many recorded fentanyl overdoses are from synthetic use.

The black market is creating a synthetic form of fentanyl with heroin-like effects that threaten the health and well being of many users.

Why is Fentanyl a Threat?

Fentanyl is dangerous because it’s being used by many people without a prescription. In fact, a large number of people are using synthetic Fentanyl which has been processed through the black market as a recreational drug.

This type of use results quickly independence, which can then lead to Fentanyl abuse and overdose. Consequently, many users will also mix Fentanyl with other illegal drugs, prescribed medication, and alcohol and increase their chances of health issues or overdose.

Many users prefer mixing it with cocaine or heroin to produce a euphoric effect.

The risk of harm is apparent when the wrong dose is used. There have been thousands of deaths from Fentanyl in the United States, and according to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) there is a rise in the number of deaths from fentanyl in the UK.[1] 

The number of deaths in the UK derives from mixing heroin and Fentanyl. As a Class A substance and being initially released as a painkiller, Fentanyl has entered the illegal drug market.

Patients that abuse Fentanyl should be aware that it’s a powerful, pain-relieving opiate. Dependency quickly leads to abuse.

Side Effects Of Fentanyl Use

Fentanyl has the same side-effects as opioids and heroin, including morphine and OxyContin.

Patients that abuse fentanyl can expect to experience serious side effects that include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Co-curring dependency
  • Drowsiness or fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Chest pain

Taking Fentanyl as prescribed or illegally can result in the same side effects, but illegal use increases your risk of dependency, tolerance, and addiction.

However, patients that take it as prescribed by their doctor are far less likely to develop a dependency on this narcotic.

Abusing Transdermal Fentanyl Patches

The transdermal patches are less likely to become addictive because of the time-released formula. However, many people remove the gel-like substance or liquid from inside the patch to create an immediate effect.

When the patch is tampered with, the patient experiences the effects of Fentanyl all at once. Prescribed use of the Fentanyl patch may cause redness, irritation, or a rash around the area where the patch is used.

Patients are warned that tolerance and dependence may still occur with the prescribed use of Fentanyl. Fentanyl patches and opioids should only be used according to your physicians directed instructions to avoid harsh side effects, dependency, or overdose.

The Black Market & Fentanyl

Over 80% of Fentanyl in the United Kingdom comes from China,[2] which has also had an impact on the United States. The rise in Chinese Fentanyl distribution is driven by demand.

In fact, China has an e-commerce market that offers synthetic opioids. Many users that don’t have a prescription are turning to these type of websites for access to illegal fentanyl.

Chinese websites like Weiku are offering to ship opioids to the UK. The websites themselves may not offer opioids, but have advertisements with Fentanyl patches and lozenges. Many of these websites have been suspended, but quickly re-emerge due to the increasing demand for the drug.

The Food and Drug Administration currently has banned Fentanyl that has been shipped from China or purchased from an international website. Federal authorities warn against the dangers of illegal fentanyl purchased from the black market.

How Does Fentanyl Use Lead To Addiction?

As more people become dependent on prescription drugs to intensify the effects of illegal drugs and alcohol, the use of Fentanyl continues to increase dramatically.

When used improperly or in excess, Fentanyl can have potentially lethal results. Many patients taking fentanyl as prescribed will continue to do so for ongoing pamper and are not likely to taper away from it.

Illegal use can also create an increased dependency that contributes to prolonged use. One of the drawbacks of illegal use is the withdrawal symptoms many individuals face.

Withdrawal symptoms for fentanyl include:

  • Runny nose
  • Excess fatigue
  • Increased pain in the joints, muscles, or back
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Physical weakness
  • Anxiety, irritability, and mood swings

Serious symptoms like increased heart rate and rapid breathing pose the most threat for users that suffer from existing respiratory issues.

The trouble with voluntary movement, low blood pressure, nightmares, and other serious withdrawal symptoms have been reported by many users. People that abuse fentanyl is subject to experience dangerous auditory or visual hallucinations.

Some people have reported seeing objects or people that were not there in rare cases of Fentanyl abuse. The brain needs a certain amount of equilibrium when patients are suffering from chemical dependency.

Doctors who suspect a dependency to Fentanyl will taper patients away from using it and will administer another prescription pain reliever.

A person that abuses Fentanyl may experience symptoms while onlookers can notice their addiction or dependency. To understand the signs and symptoms of abuse, many people have turned to mental health professionals.

Learn ways to identify fentanyl abuse by reading more details below.

Warning Signs Of Fentanyl Abuse & Dependency

Many users want to stop using Fentanyl, but find they have a hard time succumbing to their dependency. Ironically, not being able to gradually taper away from prescription narcotics or opioids is one of the first signs of addiction.

Many mental health providers label fentanyl abuse as a “opioid disorder.” If an individual has developed uncontrollable urges or cravings to use Fentanyl, it can have devastating effects on the individual’s health and well-being.

If a significant portion of your time is spent buying, abusing, or recovering from the use of Fentanyl, you are more than likely experiencing addiction.

Furthermore, if you notice that your interpersonal relationships have dwindled, your energy to do things that you once enjoyed has dimished, or your performance at work has declined, addiction is prevalent.

Other symptoms of fentanyl addiction include:

  • A greater dose for more to feel high
  • Increased tolerance
  • Increased use despite the dangerous conditions
  • Increased withdrawal symptoms

fentanyl treatment

Treatment Options For Fentanyl Addiction

Like with many prescription and illegal drugs, including alcohol, it’s important for a patient to detox from Fentanyl to ensure a successful recovery, which requires the help of a professional.

Without proper professional care, patients run the risk of overdosing. Most patients can seek recovery in an opioid rehab centre.

However, Fentanyl detox treatment is more intense than other detox options used for other opioids. A supervised facility offers patients the benefits of 24-hour observation to safely detox.

Residential treatment options are the best way to recover from opioids. Facility treatment for Fentanyl addiction is also known as inpatient treatment.

You should always be monitored when you’re detoxing from Fentanyl abuse. Most physicians will recommend their patients stay at a treatment centre for Fentanyl abuse for at least 30 days.

Outpatient Vs Inpatient Treatment

Residential treatment options offer patients consistent monitoring for serious withdrawal symptoms like fever, chills, laboured breathing, chest tightness, ulcers, sores, laboured respiratory, dizziness, lightheadedness, and more.

Residential treatment options allow patients to get their physical and mental needs met to help them overcome their dependency on Fentanyl. The body will begin to make several adjustments while detoxing.

The greatest danger with addiction lies with an individual’s increased tolerance and a professional recognizes these signs while creating the patient’s recovery plan.

Residential treatment options for fentanyl can also address co-occurring addiction to other drugs including alcohol and address any mental health issues.

Another advantage of residential treatment options is group therapy, one-on-one therapy, and counselling.

Successful recovery will take dedication, but finding the right support from a residential treatment facility for fentanyl abuse is imperative. Getting started on the road to recovery is important.

In fact, even a prescription to Fentanyl can result in dependency. If you notice the early warning signs of dependency, it’s important to talk to your doctor right away.

For more details on recovery options for Fentanyl dependency, you’re invited to talk to one of our experienced, but compassionate experts about your treatment options today.

References:

[1] https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-50989633

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/aug/27/fentanyl-for-sale-to-uk-users-through-chinese-websites