With the opioid epidemic continuing to ravage the lives of people all over our nation, there is no time better than the present to learn more about these substances. One of the most dangerous opioids, fentanyl, has been making its appearance in news outlets all over, as it is the result of thousands of opioid-related deaths, including those of famous musical artists Prince and Mac Miller. But, many may wonder, “what is fentanyl”? In this article, we discuss the effects and dangers of this terrifying substance. And divulge the reality of widespread use of this deadly opioid.
What is Fentanyl?
Basically, fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that was made to mirror the effects of morphine in a lab. However, while it provides like-effects of morphine, it’s said to be at least 50 to 100 times stronger than the commonly prescribed opiate. Basically, it was made to help patients dealing with pain in a hospital setting. Typically, it’s only prescribed to individuals who have just had surgery or are living with severe chronic pain symptoms. However, unfortunately, due to the extreme effects of the drug, it is frequently utilized recreationally. And, can lead to severe dependence and addiction upon even its first use.
Fentanyl’s Contribution to the Opioid Epidemic
Physicians know that fentanyl is extremely dangerous and addictive. If a person ingests just a tiny amount of this substance, even less than one milligram, they could die from an overdose. So, they don’t usually prescribe it unless a patient absolutely requires this form of pain relief. And, even then, they prescribe it in ways it is difficult to abuse, like fentanyl patches which release small amounts of the substance into the bloodstream over time.
However, even though the number of fentanyl prescriptions in our country is very low, the substance is still a huge issue. This is due to the fact that fentanyl is bought over the black market by heroin dealers to mix into their product. This stretches the product so that these individuals can make more money. The result is individuals using this heroin without the knowledge that fentanyl is cut into the substance, which leads to overdose deaths. Or, it often results in individuals wanting to buy only heroin that is mixed with fentanyl, as they become wildly dependent on the effects of fentanyl and need to use it to even experience a high.
Experiencing Withdrawal from Fentanyl
It’s hard to quit using fentanyl once a person starts due to severe withdrawal symptoms that occur. Of course, when a person stops using a substance that’s this addictive, they’ll begin to experience extreme cravings. But, if they don’t use when these cravings begin, the body can begin to react adversely. These are known as withdrawal symptoms and can include diarrhea, vomiting, cold sweats, fever, muscle pain, stomach cramps, insomnia, paranoia, and mood swings.
Help for Fentanyl Withdrawal and Addiction
Because of these severe withdrawal symptoms, it’s best to get help for detoxing from professionals. This way, individuals can receive medications which can help to aid the detox process by making withdrawal symptoms less severe. And, they can have a better chance at remaining in treatment to get the help they need to sustain lasting recovery.
Once detox from fentanyl is complete, the mission isn’t over. This is when treatment patients are at their most vulnerable as tolerance levels decrease once the substance is removed from the body. So, this is the time where they are most vulnerable to overdose and overdose-related death. To best prevent relapse, treatment helps individuals stay on the course of sobriety. Additionally, it helps to prepare them with the required relapse prevention tools needed to stay in recovery.