Fentanyl was originally designed more than 50 years ago as a synthetic opioid to treat severe pain, particularly after surgical procedures and in cancer patients. In recent years, however, illegally produced fentanyl has been identified as one of the major causes in the rise of opioid overdose deaths. In a recent study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, fentanyl was found to be involved in 59 percent of opioid-related deaths. The drug gained further notoriety when it was named as a contributing factor in the deaths of popular musicians Tom Petty and Prince.
Because it is so strong – more than 100 times more powerful than morphine – it takes only a small amount of fentanyl for the user to experience feelings of euphoria and pleasure. Drug dealers often use fentanyl to “spike” other substances because it produces a more intense high at a lower cost. This creates a higher chance of overdose, as users often take this very strong opioid without even realizing it.
All forms of fentanyl are highly addictive. Even if you use fentanyl that has been prescribed by your doctor, an addiction can form in only a few days. And if you take illegally produced fentanyl, there is a high risk that you may take a stronger dose than you intended, which could cause you to become addicted even sooner.
Legal fentanyl prescribed by doctors is normally administered to patients as patches, shots or lozenges. Illegal fentanyl – known on the street as Tango & Cash, King Ivory, Apache, China Girl, Dance Fever, Jackpot and more – is sold as a powder, on blotter paper, in eye droppers or nasal sprays, or as pills that are fashioned to look like other prescription opioids.
A person with a fentanyl addiction will likely demonstrate typical drug-addicted behavior – intense cravings, compulsive use, confusion and impaired judgement. Physical symptoms include blurred vision, slurred speech, drowsiness, nausea and slowed breathing.
Other signs that a person has a fentanyl addiction include:
Quitting a fentanyl addiction can be very difficult. Depending on the severity and duration of your addiction, the withdrawal symptoms during detox may be intense, including agitation, anxiety, aches and pains, restlessness and tiredness. As you progress through withdrawal, the symptoms may become more severe, as you experience cramping, nausea, vomiting and spasms. And if you have been using fentanyl for an extended period, the struggle to get through withdrawal could become very difficult to manage, as you potentially experience heart issues, seizures and other serious symptoms.
The key to getting through withdrawal symptoms this intense is to make sure you have the medical assistance and support you need for safe drug detox. At Harbor Village, our clinical staff is trained to know exactly what is needed to help you get through this difficult stage of recovery, and we administer your prescribed medications accordingly. Buprenorphine, naltrexone, and methadone are just some of the medications that have been successful in managing fentanyl withdrawal symptoms.
During drug rehab with Harbor Village, you have around-the-clock care and support from our team to ensure your detox is as comfortable as possible. We constantly monitor and observe your health and progress to ensure you have the best opportunity to get through the detox program successfully.
After detox, your individualized treatment program for fentanyl addiction may include several behavioral therapy modalities. In these sessions, we work with you to identify and address underlying mental health disorders that may contribute to your addiction. We incorporate one-on-one counseling, group therapy sessions, and other behavioral treatment options to help you develop a deeper understanding of your fentanyl addiction. Guided by our team, you learn life skills and coping techniques that help you complete your rehab program successfully and remain drug-free for the long term.