Uses and effects of fentanyl
Fentanyl is a prescription drug often employed after surgery for pain management. People consume it through injection, orally as a lozenge or through a transdermal patch. It is marketed under trade names like Actiq, Duragesic and Sublimaze.
Following are some of the street names of this drug:
- China Girl
- China Town
- Dance Fever
- Murder 8
- Tango and Cash
Like all synthetic opioids, fentanyl works by binding to receptors in the brain that regulate pain and emotions. In addition to pain reduction, the drug can produce a state of euphoria and relaxation. However, if someone begins to abuse it, it can cause some extremely unpleasant side effects.
Following are some of the effects of fentanyl misuse:
- False sense of well-being
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea or vomiting
In extreme cases of abuse, fentanyl overdoses can cause respiratory depression that can be fatal to its users.
Because fentanyl drug abuse has become so widespread, first responders in many cities have taken to carrying Naloxone, also known as Narcan. Naloxone works by blocking opiate receptors in the nervous system. In some cases, this can reverse the effects of a fentanyl overdose. Fortunately, fentanyl addiction treatment is available. Sovereign Health of Texas provides fentanyl addiction treatment by using the most effective, cutting-edge treatment modalities available.
Fentanyl’s potency makes it an extremely dangerous drug of abuse. People abuse it in various ways, including snorting, sniffing, injecting, smoking, consuming as a pill, tablet or by spiking it on blotted paper. To boost its effects, people even mix the drug with heroin before consumption.
When taken in larger amounts than prescribed, the drug can cause an overdose that can be serious and life-threatening. Following are some of the signs and symptoms of fentanyl abuse:
- Slurred speech
- Muscle stiffness
- Labored breathing
- Weight loss
- Visual hallucinations
In addition, fentanyl abuse also produces significant long-term effects, including paranoia, hallucinations, weakened immune system, gastrointestinal problems, seizures, social withdrawal and personality changes.
When people stop using the drug abruptly after a prolonged use, they often experience a host of mental and physical withdrawal symptoms, including the following:
- Fever and chills
- Drug cravings
- Severe bone pain
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Mood swings
Statistics about fentanyl overdose fatalities are not tallied for the nation as a whole, but the number has been spiking in recent years. Overdoses are reaching epidemic proportions. In 2016, an estimated 228,000 people in the U.S. misused prescription fentanyl products. Clusters of overdoses can occur in a very short period if a particularly potent batch of the drug reaches the streets. For example, CNN reported that in 2016, fentanyl was passed off as the prescription drug Norco and sold on the streets of California. In just 10 days, one batch was responsible for at least 10 deaths and 48 overdoses.