Fentanyl
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A synthetic opiate pain reliever, the drug fentanyl is prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain, especially to patients with chronic pain who are physically tolerant to other opioids. It classifies as a Schedule II narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and is 50 times more potent than heroin and approximately 100 times more potent than morphine.

Fentanyl was introduced in 1960 and is an extremely powerful and addictive drug today, with legal manufacturing and distribution in the U.S. Owing to its powerful euphoric, relaxing and pain-relieving effects, people often consume it for illegal purposes. It is also mixed with cocaine and heroin to experience increased effects. When used without a prescription, in higher doses or in combination with other addictive substances, the drug can be fatal to its users.

Fentanyl received national attention in 2016 when it was identified as the drug that killed the pop star Prince. In recent years, fentanyl abuse has become a serious problem in communities across the United States. Sadly, like Prince, many others have lost their lives because of fentanyl abuse.

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:

  • Apache
  • China Girl
  • China Town
  • Dance Fever
  • Friend
  • Goodfellas
  • Jackpot
  • 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:

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

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 abuse

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
  • Shaking
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Depression
  • 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:

  • Tremors
  • Fever and chills
  • Drug cravings
  • Severe bone pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Mood swings
  • Diarrhea

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.

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Treatment for fentanyl addiction

According to CDC Director Tom Frieden, “The opioid epidemic is devastating American families and communities. 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.”

A comprehensive treatment for fentanyl addiction combines a medically-supervised detox program with intense counseling or therapy sessions. While detox helps eliminate the toxic substances from the body and manage the withdrawal symptoms, behavioral therapies help uncover any hidden mental illness or health condition that may be contributing to one’s addiction. It also helps the patients gain necessary life skills to live a drug-free life post their treatment.

Why choose Sovereign Health

Sovereign Health of El Paso offers a comprehensive treatment for adult men and women (aged 18 or above) with addiction-related and co-occurring illnesses. Licensed as a substance abuse treatment facility by the Regulatory Licensing Unit of the Texas Department of State Health Services, Sovereign Health of El Paso, Texas is dedicated to providing result-oriented treatment in a caring and confidential environment.

At all Sovereign Health facilities, fentanyl addiction treatment generally begins with medically assisted fentanyl detox treatment to help the body rid itself of the toxins gained during substance abuse. Patients undergoing the detoxification treatment are monitored by the staff on a round-the-clock basis. This ensures that any uncomfortable or dangerous withdrawal symptoms are reported to the consulting doctor in time. This vital first step helps the patient stay assured that they are not alone, there is support and care available at all times. The treatment process continues after detox and patients attend the recommended treatment program that has been carefully designed by the consulting doctor basis their individual needs.

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 holistic approach to treatment that covers all aspects of treatment, including aftercare is our added advantage and helps us facilitate a full, lasting recovery path for our patients.

Following are some of the therapeutic approaches offered at our state-of-the-art facilities:

  • 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 our top-notch fentanyl addiction treatment plans or to locate the finest fentanyl detox centers near you, contact our 24/7 helpline. You can even chat online with our representatives for further assistance.

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Success Story
Success Story

“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