Fentanyl Abuse and Addiction Treatment Centers California -

Fentanyl Patch Abuse

Fentanyl Drug Abuse

Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid, or narcotic, drug that is available by prescription in lozenges, tablets, transdermal patches, nasal sprays, films that can be dissolved under the tongue and injections. It is used primarily for treating patients who have severe pain, particularly pain due to cancer. Fentanyl is also called China White, China Girl, TNT and Apache. On the street, it can be found as a powder or on blotter paper, reported the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

In The Body

Fentanyl is an opioid analgesic drug that depresses the central nervous system. Similar to heroin and other prescription painkillers, fentanyl binds to opioid receptors in the brain, nervous system and other organs to block a person’s perception of pain. People who take fentanyl also affect the brain’s reward system, particularly through the release of dopamine, a brain chemical associated with pleasure, reward and other pleasant feelings.

Fentanyl Abuse

Opioid use disorders including fentanyl abuse and addiction can affect anyone who is of any age, but there are particular characteristics that increase a person’s risk. For example, people are more likely to begin abusing opioids such as fentanyl, heroin and other prescription opioids when they are young adults or teenagers.

People may abuse fentanyl for its euphoric, relaxation, pain reducing and pleasurable effects.  Fentanyl abuse can produce effects that are similar to heroin, but stronger. As with other forms of the drug, fentanyl transdermal patches can also be habit-forming. Fentanyl patch abuse may occur when a person overuses the patches, has another mental disorder, a history of substance abuse, or if another family member has a substance use disorder.

Some common fentanyl abuse side effects may include the following, according to the NIDA:

  • Euphoria
  • Sedation
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Unconsciousness
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Small pupils
  • Hallucinations
  • Shaking
  • Seizures
  • Weakness
  • Coma
  • Death

Fentanyl Overdose

Fentanyl is combined with heroin, cocaine and other drugs to make them stronger, or it is sold as a completely different drug, so many people may be unaware that they are in fact taking the drug, according to a Special Report on Fentanyl and Fentanyl Analogs by the National Drug Early Warning System. The risk of overdose is high if someone buys fentanyl on the street or does not know that a substance contains fentanyl or fentanyl-related compounds.

Taking fentanyl outside of a hospital setting as it is intended can be extremely dangerous as fentanyl is much more powerful than other opioid drugs. In fact, fentanyl has a potency that is 25 to 100 times that of heroin, morphine and other prescription painkillers. Even in small amounts, people who abuse fentanyl can easily overdose, which can have serious and deadly consequences.

Dangers of Fentanyl Overdose

Fentanyl overdose can be fatal. A small dose of fentanyl can be especially dangerous for children. People who have fentanyl overdoses can experience labored or completely stopped breathing and can lose consciousness. Fentanyl drug abuse can lead to a myraid of problems.

Some of the other signs and symptoms of a fentanyl overdose to look for include:

  • Sedation
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Slow or stopped breathing
  • Smaller pupils

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Fentanyl Addiction

Fentanyl is classified as a Schedule II drug and its analogs are now Schedule I drugs, according to a report released by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in August 2016. These classifications suggest that fentanyl and its related compounds have a high potential for abuse and dependence. People who develop physical dependence on fentanyl will need to be weaned off the drug or go through fentanyl detox under the supervision of a medical professional.

People with fentanyl addiction are considered to have an opioid use disorder, according to the diagnostic criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth revision (DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Just as other forms of the drug, fentanyl patch abuse can lead to withdrawal symptoms, including:

  • Irritability
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Trouble breathing
  • Problems with sleep
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Large pupils
  • Sweating or chills
  • Joint and muscle aches

Fentanyl Drug Abuse Treatment at Sovereign Health

As opioid use disorders are influenced by a number of individual, environmental, social and genetic factors, Sovereign Health of California treats patients with fentanyl abuse and addiction from a holistic approach. Patients are provided nutritionally assisted detoxification (NAD) as the first stage of treatment for opioid use disorders, including fentanyl abuse. Sovereign Health’s programs are comprehensive and individualized to meet each patient’s particular needs to make his or her stay in treatment as comfortable as possible.

We also offer evidence-based treatments, alternative and complementary treatments for fentanyl addiction. For more information about the treatment of fentanyl addiction at Sovereign Health, please contact a member of our admission team by calling our 24/7 helpline.

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