Fentanyl received national attention in 2016 when it was identified as the drug that killed the pop star Prince. It is an extremely powerful drug used to treat chronic pain and it can be extremely addictive. In recent years fentanyl abuse has become a serious problem in communities throughout the United States. Sadly, like Prince, many others have lost their lives as a result of abusing this drug.

The Uses and Effects of Fentanyl

First synthesized in Belgium in the late 1950s, fentanyl is an opioid that was developed to treat pain. Chemically it is similar to morphine but it is 50 – 100 times more potent. It is a prescription drug often employed after surgery for pain management taken by injection or orally as a lozenge. It can also be administered by a transdermal patch. Fentanyl is marketed under trade names that include Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora and Sublimaze. Street names for the drug include

  • Apache
  • China girl
  • China white
  • dance fever
  • friend
  • goodfella
  • jackpot
  • murder 8
  • TNT
  • 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, fentanyl can produce a state of euphoria and relaxation. However, if someone begins to abuse this drug, it can cause other effects which can be extremely unpleasant. Fentanyl abuse side effects include:

  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Lightheadedness
  • False sense of well-being
  • Feeling anxious
  • Headache
  • Indigestion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Weakness

In extreme cases of abuse, fentanyl overdoses can be fatal as the drug causes respiration to slow and stop, which can kill the user.

Dangers Of Fentanyl Abuse

Fentanyl’s potency makes it an extremely dangerous drug when abused. Overdoses are reaching epidemic proportions. Statistics about fentanyl overdose fatalities are not tallied for the nation as a whole but the number has been spiking in recent years. Clusters of overdoses can occur in a very short period of time 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 street. In just 10 days, one batch was responsible for at least 10 deaths and 48 overdoses.

Fentanyl is often mixed with heroin, another opioid, to boost its potency. It is a growing and alarming trend. Dr. Elinore F. McCance-Katz is the former Chief Medical Officer of the Substance Abuse and Mental Services Administration. She explains the trend, noting that “Drug dealers are in a competitive business and like other entrepreneurs they look for ways to distinguish their product and make it something people will seek, including by increasing the potency of the heroin they sell.”

Help And Treatment For Fentanyl Addiction

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.

“The opioid epidemic is devastating American families and communities,” according to CDC Director Tom Frieden. “To curb these trends and save lives, we must help prevent addiction and provide support and treatment to those who suffer from opioid use disorders.”

Fortunately, fentanyl addiction treatment is available. Sovereign Health of Texas provides fentanyl addiction treatment by using the most effective, cutting edge treatment modalities available.

At Sovereign Health, fentanyl addiction treatment generally begins with medically assisted detox to help the body rid itself of the abuse substance. Patients at Sovereign Health of Texas who are going through detox will be aided by staff to monitor and treat them on an around the clock basis and attend to any uncomfortable or dangerous side effects that may occur. This vital first step helps the patient combat any withdrawal symptoms they may experience and allows them to start their treatment program with a clear head.

The fentanyl addiction treatment process continues with a treatment plan carefully designed by our doctors and clinicians who examine patients to diagnose any underlying conditions that may also need attention. Sovereign Health of Texas offers a range of treatment options to help patients achieve lasting recovery. We design comprehensive treatment programs tailored to meet the specific needs of each patient we treat. Our staff is expert at providing a therapeutic approach that includes:

  • Individual and process group therapy
  • Stress and anger management groups
  • Schema treatment
  • Narrative treatment
  • Mindfulness training
  • Biopsychosocial assessment
  • Life skills education
  • Experiential outings
  • Couples therapy
  • Continuing care program

For additional information about fentanyl addiction treatment please contact our 24/7 helpline. We’re here for you twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.

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Success Story
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“The therapy here helped me really look at myself and find that I am a strong individual that can deal with this and move forward in my life.”- Katie