Fentanyl Drug Information
Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate painkiller that is much stronger than morphine or heroin—in fact, it is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine. This drug is only given to those people who are already taking opiates for pain. A person who uses or abuses this drug who is not accustomed to taking opiates is very likely to kill himself (or herself) due to its strength. It takes effect quite rapidly but then its effects pass off rather rapidly as well.
Some people who are already taking long-lasting opiates for pain will take fentanyl for what’s called “breakthrough” pain, or pain that breaks through the opiate barrier.
It is very dangerous to inject this drug outside of a medical environment, so fentanyl is usually prepared in forms that make it difficult to overdose. For example, a person suffering cancer pain may get a fentanyl lollipop that dissolves very slowly.
Fentanyl is also used to help people deal with cancer pain. Some forms of fentanyl are very fast-acting. People suffering from chronic pain may be provided with patches that release the drug over 24 to 72 hours. Fentanyl is also offered in sublingual film—in other words, a small sheet of film that is intended to be placed under the tongue where it will dissolve.
Despite these attempts, there are people who do abuse the drug. They may take more than prescribed or ingest or inject the gel they have squeezed from a patch.
Fentanyl will give a similar result as morphine, oxycodone or heroin, with symptoms like these: sleepiness, fatigue, warmth, itchiness, nausea, vomiting and tendency to nod off. All opiates suppress breathing, which is how they create death when too much of the drug is taken. When fentanyl is combined with another drug that suppresses breathing, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines, this combination can also result in death.
A person on this drug will feel anesthetized and oblivious to any problems or concerns. Opiates are all constipating and they can also quickly create a tolerance, meaning that more of the drug is needed to get the same effect of a smaller dose the last time or last week.
All opiates tend to cause euphoria, but this effect can quickly be lost, so that the opiate only causes drowsiness and sedation, but no euphoria. This is part of the tolerance effect. This is one of the dangers of opiate abuse. A person may take more of a drug like fentanyl, trying to get the euphoria that they are finding elusive until finally they overdose.
Combining Fentanyl With Other Drugs
In some large cities, individuals have managed to overdose when they mixed fentanyl with either cocaine or heroin. There are a couple of reasons why a person will mix these very strong and dangerous drugs. Some addicts will push the limits of drug abuse because they are seeking the same high they experienced at an earlier time. And then some people lose their rationality and judgment as a result of their drug abuse. Some experts attribute this practice to the effects of addiction: the blunting and the desensitization that a person experiences after extensive drug abuse.
Coming Back from Fentanyl Abuse
In many drug rehabs, a person who is seeking recovery from opiate abuse will be given methadone or Suboxone (a formula containing buprenorphine, among other drugs) to prevent withdrawal symptoms. While some professionals state that the purpose of these substitute medications is to help wean a person off opiates on a gradual basis, many practitioners consider that long-term administration of these drugs will keep a person “in compliance” with their treatment protocols. In other words, they will be doing what the doctors recommend and will not be abusing illicit drugs, but they will not be drug-free. In the real world, many people who are given methadone or buprenorphine are likely to be abusing alcohol or street drugs at the same time.
At Narconon drug rehabilitation centers around the world, a person can recover fully from opiate addiction without the desperately sick withdrawal they might expect from earlier attempts. The Narconon withdrawal process includes generous support for each person in recovery. Nutritional supplements help boost a body’s ability to deal with withdrawal by calming spasms and pains. Vitamins like B complex and C help a person start to detoxify drugs that were taken and can lift mood too. It’s not to say that withdrawal is ever a breeze, but it can be more tolerable than expected.
It’s essential to help an opiate addict through the cravings that threaten to drive him (or her) back into drug abuse. A thorough detoxification followed by counseling and life skills training enable a person in a drug program to see things in a whole new light so they can live an enjoyable, productive life again. This is the way the Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation program works. Find out all about this program that can help someone you care about recover from addiction, even to a drug as strong as fentanyl.