Fentanyl Addiction

Created in 1959 fentanyl was originally used in a medical setting for pain relief. It was found that the drug was almost 100 times stronger than morphine itself, and was used as either an injection or as a patch in a medical setting. For a time fentanyl helped many individuals recover from their pain, but the bliss was short-lived. Once the 1990s rolled around, fentanyl began to join the rising numbers of opioid drugs abused and would spiral out of control quickly.

If you or someone you love is addicted to fentanyl, call SJRP admissions at 833-397-3422 to find out if our Florida addiction and recovery programs are right for you. We have several area drug and alcohol rehab centers in Florida that provide all levels of care for clients struggling with fentanyl addiction.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid drug, originally developed for medical pain relief, that can be anywhere from 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. As a Schedule II drug / medication, the synthetic opioid was originally used to help cancer patients, or individuals who recently underwent surgery, to manage their pain due to its high opioid properties, fentanyl was quickly diverted for illicit abuse.

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Signs of Fentanyl Addiction

Opioids like fentanyl change the chemistry of the brain. These changes can lead to growing tolerance, and thus even more severe side effects of use overtime. The signs of fentanyl abuse can quickly give ways to signs of fentanyl addiction. Signs of an overall fentanyl addiction can include:

  • Drug seeking.
  • Spouts of extreme, but short lasting, happiness.
  • Long periods of excessive drowsiness.
  • Mood swings.
  • Bouts of short lasting euphoria.
  • Loss of coordination.
  • Uncharacteristic changes in thinking, mood, and actions.
  • Involuntary weight loss.
  • Redness of face, neck, or hands.
  • Decreased interest in hobbies that used to bring joy.
  • Self-isolation from friends and family.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Rash or hives.
  • Irritability when not high.
  • Acting erratically.

How Can You Tell If Someone Is Addicted To Fentanyl?

Drug addiction and overdose is a serious issue in the U.S. that affects thousands of people every single year. As a powerful synthetic opioid, fentanyl contributes largely to the opioid epidemic running rampant in America. Thousands of people suffer from opioid addiction, due to both blatant and accidental misuse.

Yet, despite the issues drug addiction can cause, it is often very difficult to tell whether or not someone is in fact suffering from a substance use problem. Here are some questions you can ask yourself, or your loved one, to determine whether or not you should seek out help:

  • Do you use opioids like fentanyl?
  • Do you use opioids in larger doses than recommended?
  • Do you take opioids more often than recommended?
  • Do you use opioids even though you do not suffer from chronic or extreme pain?
  • Have you spent a lot of your time thinking about fentanyl?
  • Do you spend a lot of your time trying to obtain fentanyl?
  • Have you found yourself spending a lot of time recovering from the use of fentanyl?
  • Do you spend a lot of time using fentanyl or other opioids?
  • Have you tried cutting back or stopping your opioid use altogether, but can’t?
  • Do you have fentanyl cravings?
  • Are you suffering from financial hardship as a result of your drug use?
  • Have you work, home, or school responsibilities and reputation suffered as a result of your fentanyl use?
  • Have you continued using fentanyl even though you know it is causing hardship in your relationships and professional responsibilities?
  • Do your drug use patterns actively put you in the path of danger?
  • Has your tolerance to the drug grown?
  • Do you know your drug use patterns can cause or worsen mental health issues, but continue to use anyway?
  • Do you experience withdrawal symptoms (sweating, chills, headaches, vomiting, etc.) when you do not use fentanyl for even a short amount of time?

If you were able to answer these questions honestly, and came up with a “yes” for even a third of these questions, it may be time for you to seek out some professional help. Rehabilitation facilities like St John’s Recovery Place help you recover from your drug abuse in the best, healthiest way possible. Don’t wait, before it is too late call today to find out what your next steps should be.

Symptoms of Fentanyl Addiction

The symptoms of a fentanyl addiction can have both short and long-term effects. Oftentimes these symptoms build upon signs of use, with increasing severity as time wears on, and can lead to severe side effects and complications of use if left unchecked. Some of the symptoms an individual may experience as a result of a fentanyl addiction include:

  • Drug-seeking.
  • Drug cravings.
  • Spouts of extreme, but short-lasting, happiness.
  • Long periods of excessive drowsiness.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Bone pain.
  • Uncontrollable limb movement.
  • Irregular menstruation.
  • Cold flashes.
  • Mood swings.
  • Bouts of short lasting euphoria.
  • Loss of coordination.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Uncharacteristic changes in thinking, mood, and actions.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Involuntary weight loss.
  • Difficulty urinating.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Redness of face, neck, or hands.
  • Decreased interest in hobbies that used to bring joy.
  • Self-isolation from friends and family.
  • Changes in heartbeat.
  • Rash or hives.

Side Effects of Fentanyl Abuse

The side effects of fentanyl abuse can have short-term and long-term consequences. With very similar adverse effects to heroin use, fentanyl poses a dangerous threat to both the health and lives of individuals who abuse the substance in any manner. Immediate side effects of fentanyl use and addiction include:

  • A heightened sense of well being.
  • Excessive happiness.
  • Temporary pain relief.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Irregular (fast or slow) heartbeat.
  • Reddening of face, hands, or neck.
  • Muscle aches.
  • Bones pain.
  • Stomach cramps
  • Heavy feeling in limbs.
  • Severe itching.
  • Difficulty maintaining a job.
  • Difficulty managing finances.
  • Difficulty keeping up with school work.
  • Difficulty with managing personal, social, and professional relationships and responsibilities.
  • Decreased interest in activities that used to bring joy.
  • Difficulty thinking.
  • Mood swing.
  • Uncontrollable limb movement.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Involuntary weight loss.
  • Difficulty maintaining erection.
  • Irregular menstruation.
  • Difficulty urinating.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Loss of coordination.
  • Excessive drug cravings.
  • Drug seeking.
  • Cold flashes.

Long Term Dangers of Fentanyl Addiction

The long-term side effects of fentanyl use and addiction are largely similar to those of short-term use, just with rising severity. Long-term use of fentanyl can also lead to:

  • Severe weight loss.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Skin abscesses.
  • Damaged or collapsed veins.
  • Respiratory issues.
  • Stomach issues.
  • Heightened Risk of drop out or expulsion from school.
  • Heart issues.
  • Blood pressure issues.
  • Long-term constipation.
  • Higher potential for overdose.
  • Imparied memory.
  • Long-term confusion.
  • Loss of Professional relationships.
  • Changes to brain chemistry.
  • Drug cravings.
  • Impaired learning.
  • Increasing tolerance.
  • Withdrawal symptoms (when not enough of the drug has been taken).
  • Potential loss of job.
  • Relationship Troubles.

Dangers of Polysubstance Abuse

Like heroin, fentanyl has a high potential of being abused in conjunction with other types of opioids or drugs. The term polysubstance abuse refers directly to how many drugs are being taken by an individual at the same time, or around the same time. Usually, polysubstance abuse refers to at least 2 to 3 different drugs or substances of use. You can be diagnosed with polysubstance abuse and not be addicted to any one drug in particular. Individuals who suffer from polysubstance abuse are incredibly difficult to treat, as all addictions must be treated at once and cannot be treated one after the other. Pairing fentanyl with other types of substances, drugs or medications, both illicit and legal, can have devastating, life-threatening consequences, and should never be attempted.

Mixing Fentanyl and Cocaine

The mixing of cocaine and fentanyl is one of the most common drug pairings noted by laboratories. This drug combination can onset many adverse health effects, and have severe, life-threatening consequences. Not much is known about the specific effects these drugs used together can onset. But, it has been noted that the combination of these two drugs has led to many more overdoses and deaths than when they are used alone.

Mixing Fentanyl and Heroin

Heroin mixed with fentanyl can have disastrous effects. Both fentanyl and heroin are powerful synthetic opioids, used to negate the effects of physical pain. Those who use these two drugs in conjunction with each other typically have built a high tolerance to fentanyl and are looking for a stronger, longer lasting high. But while heroin mixed with fentanyl may cause an immediate sense of well-being and euphoria, these drugs are both known to cause life-threatening respiratory distress, drowsiness, and damaging chemical changes to the brain.

Mixing Fentanyl and Alcohol

Fentanyl and alcohol should never be combined. The use of alcohol with the drug, even as a medication, can exacerbate the effects of fentanyl, causing more severe complications and life-threatening situations.

What Causes Fentanyl Addiction?

Opioids, and even synthetic opioids, are highly addictive substances with high abuse potential. Fentanyl and other opioids are known for their ability to change the chemical makeup of the brain, inspiring not only higher levels of tolerance over time, but dependence and addiction as well. Fentanyl is highly potent, and delivers immediate gratification effects of pain relief and euphoria quickly, that and it’s ability to be paired or laced with other potent drugs by dealers, make the substance that much dangerous, and puts individuals at higher risk for addiction. Some causes of fentanyl addiction can be hereditary or genetic as well. Individual factors that can influence fentanyl addiction include:

  • Strength of the dose.
  • Trends of repeated use.
  • Overall health before beginning use.
  • Mental health.
  • Whether or not you are taking any other type of drugs, or combining alcohol with your use.
  • History of users in your bloodline.

Fentanyl Overdose

Over 450,000 individuals have died from opioid overdoses in the last 20 to 30 years. Nearly 128 people die of an opioid overdose every day in a nation wide, opioid crisis. Fentanyl, as one of the most commonly abused opioids in the country greatly contributes to these numbers. But not all overdoses, even fentanyl overdoses, must end in death. How? Well, it’s important to first recognize the signs, so that you can call 911 to get proper help. Fentanyl overdose symptoms include:

  • Sever stupor.
  • Changes in pupil size.
  • Cold, clammy skin.
  • Severe difficulty breathing.
  • Full respiratory failure.
  • Severe drowsiness.
  • Purple or blue lips.
  • Slowing or stopping heartbeat.
  • Conscious but unresponsive.
  • Making gurgling sounds.
  • Limp body.
  • labored breathing.

Overdose, if caught in time, can be treated or reversed in opioid overdose patients with a drug called naloxone. In some cases it is possible for civilians to gain training and ownership or an emergency naloxone kit, in order to help an individual experiencing an overdose before an ambulance arrives. It is important to note that naloxone is not a miracle cure, and 911 should always be called as quickly as possible, to receive professional medical help for the individual.

Finding Help for Fentanyl Addiction

Finding help to recover from a fentanyl addiction in Florida can be quite nerve-racking, but it is not impossible. Here at St John’s Recovery Place (SJRP) we offer you, and your loved ones, the greatest care possible, to make sure you have every opportunity to recover in peace. Your addiction recovery is in your own hands, but we are here to help be your railing as you make the climb to your biggest goal yet, sobriety.

A fentanyl addiction can be treated the same as any other type of substance abuse addiction, through the hard and dedicated work of individuals in detox, inpatient, outpatient, sober living, and support group programs. If you are worried about yourself, or a loved one’s relationship with fentanyl, call us today at 833-397-3422  to find out how we can help. You won’t regret reaching out.

Our Nearest Fentanyl Rehab Center

St. John's Recovery Place

1125 N. Summit St.
Crescent City, FL 32112

St. John's Recovery Place (SJRP) in Crescent City is our Central Florida drug and alcohol rehab center location that provides inpatient services including several medical detox, residential treatment, and aftercare through our Alumni program.

How Is Fentanyl Addiction Treated in Drug Rehab?

Like other types of illicit drug addictions, fentanyl dependence can be treated in an inpatient rehab facility, but using a number of different therapies, support systems, and treatments. Just because fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid does not mean certain types of treatment have to be close off to you. In fact, fentanyl addiction may open some new doors for you, including the potential to have a more concentrated medication-assisted and monitored treatment plan. 

Typically, fentanyl addiction treatment begins by undergoing medically assisted withdrawal and detox. Once you have successfully completed this initial step, you can move into an inpatient program, followed by outpatient rehabilitation. Both inpatient and outpatient rehab consist of the same types of treatment, and differ in just the fact that the first program requires you to live on facility grounds to receive treatment on a 24 hour basis, and the second allows you more flexibility by living at home and attending treatment sessions. Typically the types of treatment programs available to fentanyl addiction rehab clients include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy 
  • Contingency management 
  • Motivational therapy 
  • Family therapy 
  • Individual counselling 
  • Group support / counselling and therapy 

Medications Used For Fentanyl Addiction Recovery 

Drug addiction treatment is never easy or simple, but even in the case of fentanyl and other opioid addictions, it is possible. Effective treatment helps clients to work down to the cause of their addiction, make peace with their life situation, and then build up from the bottom, learning new ways to communicate, building new life-skills, engaging in healthy life-style habits, and altogether recovering holistically by treating mind, body, and spirit. 

One aspect of such opioid addiction treatment includes the use of medication(s) to allow clients to focus on their healing, and not on their more uncomfortable symptoms or drug cravings. Typical medications used to help treat fentanyl addiction include:

  • Methadone 
  • Buprenorphine 
  • Naltrexone

These medications can appear under a number of brand names, but all work to do the same thing, they help alleviate pain and drug cravings by attaching to the opioid receptors in the brain and blocking the influence of more powerful opioids like fentanyl. Not every medication will work for every individual and their personal struggle with addiction. Recovery never looks the same for everyone, but medication management can be a very useful tool for many who struggle with addiction, to make the journey just a little easier in the long run.