Fentanyl is a dangerous drug that became notorious for killing famous singer Prince in April of 2016.
However, it is not a new drug since it was first developed in the 1960’s.
Fentanyl has many similar characteristics to morphine, but it is actually 50 to 100 times stronger. Plus, it is 30 to 50 times more potent than the street drug known as heroin.
In general, this opiate is used to help people manage their pain after they have had surgery or to help with the pain from cancer treatment. But it can also be given to those people with severe chronic pain who don’t respond well to other opioid drugs.
When Fentanyl is prescribed by a doctor, it can be injected, administered through a skin patch, or a given in lozenge form. Yet when it is bought off the street, it is usually in a powder form, put on blotter paper, or mixed with heroin. It can also be found in tablet form.
One of the scariest aspects of this opioid is that the difference between a therapeutic dose and a deadly dose is very small, making it very easy to take the wrong amount and end up in a perilous situation.
How Does Fentanyl Work?
Fentanyl binds to the opioid receptors in a person’s brain. These receptors are found in the part of the brain that is in charge of controlling both emotions and pain. Thus when a person takes Fentanyl, the dopamine levels in the brain are increased – which produces a state of relaxation and euphoria.
Fentanyl mimics heroin in many ways. Besides the euphoric state it creates, people who use Fentanyl experience a myriad of negative effects including drowsiness, constipation, nausea, confusion, dry mouth, urine retention, appetite loss, headache, depression, and unconsciousness.
Opioid receptors in the brain not only control emotions and pain, but they also are in charge of a person’s breathing. Therefore, if Fentanyl is taken in a high enough dose, it can make breathing stop completely.
Treatment For Fentanyl Addiction
Unfortunately, many of the people who use Fentanyl begin to commit crimes to support their habit since it is not a cheap drug to get. In order to pay for their addiction, they will either steal money from friends and loved ones to afford the drug or they will begin to steal the actual drug from their workplace if they are employed in a hospital or a doctor’s office.
But there is hope for these people since there are many treatment options available to help addicts to stay away from Fentanyl altogether.
The main goal of treatment is to assist a person in safely getting through the withdrawal that is associated with Fentanyl. Doctors will start by tapering off the dose of the drug or switch a patient to weaker painkillers like Tramadol to lessen the shock of withdrawal to the body.
Once the withdrawal is over, the patient will then be instructed to seek out support groups to help with sobriety.