05 Nov Opioid Treatment: The Fatal Progression to Fentanyl Addiction
Handle Fentanyl with Care: Fatal upon Contact
Even the slightest physical contact with fentanyl can send people to the hospital for unintentional overdoses. When first responders and law enforcement officials engage in emergency and life-saving activities, they may accidentally inhale fentanyl and other fentanyl-related substances, or they may absorb it through their skin if forensic evidence is tainted with these dangerous synthetic opioids at the crime scene. Fentanyl is so dangerous that if it’s suspected to be present at a drug scene, first responders must wear protective gear to avoid opioid intoxication. In the last few years, studies show that fentanyl has been linked to nearly 46% of overdose deaths in 2016 and 47% of overdoses in 2017. After the government placed limitations on prescription pain killers, addicts turned to the illicit drug market to gain access to heroin, oftentimes mixed with fentanyl.
Understanding Fentanyl vs. Other Opioids
Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate, a type of narcotic (pain killer) belonging to a class of opioids, which can be divided into three categories: natural, semi-synthetic and synthetic. Unlike natural opiates like morphine, heroin and codeine, which are derived directly from the opium poppy plant, fentanyl is manufactured in a lab and has been traditionally reserved for strict medical use.
Brand Names for Fentanyl
Found in the form of narcotic pain relievers, brand names for fentanyl include Duragesic, Sublimaze, Ionsys, and Fentora, which are prescribed for short-term pain management or post-surgery chronic pain relief. Pharmaceutical fentanyl is administered in hospital and clinic settings. Fentanyl, illicit or prescribed, poses as a risk not only to drug users but also to health care professionals, including administrative staff and volunteer personnel. Anyone who comes in contact with a patient’s belongings laced with fentanyl – which may come in tablet, liquid or powder forms – is at risk for exposure to opioid toxicity. Health care professionals who obtain pharmaceutical fentanyl for personal, illegal use pose as a threat to patients.
Symptoms of Fentanyl Addiction
Since fentanyl alone is deadly, it is often mixed with other opiates like heroin to unsuspecting drug users. Symptoms vary widely and may include the following: to opioid toxicity. Health care professionals who obtain pharmaceutical fentanyl for personal, illegal use pose as a threat to patients.
• Pinpoint pupils
• Vomiting and nausea
• Low blood pressure
• Impaired cognition
• Tightened chest
• Muscle stiffness
• Rapid heartbeat
• Pounding in the ears
• Respiratory depression
Which Is the Deadliest Opioid of Them All?
Carfentanil (or carfentanyl), a synthetic opioid related to fentanyl, is so lethal that it has aroused national concerns over its use as a chemical weapon by terrorist groups. Compared to other opioids, one unit of carfentanyl is 100 times as potent as fentanyl, 5,000 times as potent as heroin and 10,000 times as potent as morphine. Carfentanil made its way into the illicit drug market as drug dealers tried to increase their profits.
Opioid Treatment for Fentanyl Abuse
Effective treatment for fentanyl addiction and other opioid use disorders means integrating holistic therapy with evidence-based practices. Detoxing on your own can be dangerous and extremely uncomfortable, but with support from addiction professionals, you will be on your way to long-term recovery! New Method Wellness is one of the nation’s best addiction treatment centers, providing high quality dual diagnosis care for those who suffer from drug and alcohol addiction.