Understanding Fentanyl Addiction
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid used legally as a painkiller for people with severe illnesses such as cancer and post-surgery patients. Often it is used as an anesthetic as well. They block pain messages to the brain by attaching to receptors in the brain in charge of sending pain signals. Because it also creates a feeling of joy and pleasure it causes addiction. In many cases it is initially prescribed by doctor for legitimate use but without careful managing it can evolve into uncontrollable addiction.
A dealer practice to lace heroin and cocaine has become widespread. Often users will not even be aware they are ingesting fentanyl. Because of its potency and a lack of tolerance this commonly results in tragedy and death.
It is the commonly found painkiller in clinical use and 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Legal forms of the drug find their way to the street as well as in its illegally manufactured versions. It is now the chief drug killer in the United States with overdose rates skyrocketing yearly.
Fentanyl abuse in Indiana
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid. In Indiana, deaths related to synthetic opioids increased by over 600 percent. More Indiana natives now die from drug overdose than car accidents. In the past 15 years, the cost to Indiana due to opioids has been an astronomical 43 billion dollars.
Avenues Recovery Center, a drug and alcohol detox and residential treatment center in northeastern Indiana, understands the great danger fentanyl abuse is posing to residents and the effect it is having on our neighborhoods. To combat this, Avenues has developed programs specializing in overcoming fentanyl addiction and establishing and maintaining productive lifestyles for their clients.
What is Naloxone?
When a person overdoses from fentanyl, Naloxone is needed quickly. Also known by its original brand name Narcan, it is a non-addictive opioid antagonist. This means it blocks the effects of the drug and returns breathing to normal levels. There is no better emergency response to a fentanyl overdose. Its effectiveness and rising overdose casualties have pushed lawmakers to pass legislation increasing its availability. First responder authorizations, third party prescriptions, and giving family members prescriptions are some of the ways the Indiana and federal governments have eased the red tape for Narcan access.
Once the overdose has been stabilized, emergency services and professional medical assistance is absolutely vital. Detox and treatment should be sought out as well.
FAQs about fentanyl addiction
What does fentanyl look like?
Fentanyl is a white or an off-white powder. However, it is often hidden in other drugs and impossible to detect. It can also be made into tablets and passed off as pain medications like Oxycontin.
Clinically used fentanyl comes in several forms:
- Fentanyl patch (transdermal)
- Fentanyl injection suspension for intravenous use
- Fentanyl sprays
- Fentanyl oral dissolving tablets
What is fentanyl called in the street?
- China White
- China girl
- Dance fever
- Murder 8
- Tango and Cash
- Great Bear
What are risk factors that cause fentanyl addiction?
- Family history of opioid addiction
- Relationships with people suffering from opioid addiction
- Sufferers of chronic diseases who are prescribed fentanyl for legitimate reasons
What are some signs and symptoms of fentanyl addiction?
- Mood swings
- Confusion and impaired judgement
- Neglect of work and social responsibilities
- Possession of needles and other paraphernalia
- Engagement in illegal activities
Physical and Mental
- Incessant scratching
- Weight loss
- Dry mouth
- Nasal sores and bleeding
- Injection tracks
- Dilated pupils
- Depression and thoughts of suicide
What are some health risks of fentanyl addiction?
- Heart disease
- Liver failure
- Kidney failure
- Visual impairment
- HIV and STDs