What Is Fentanyl? 

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid pain reliever, 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine, that is typically used for severe pain treatment and management for patients who are physically tolerant to other opioids. In recent years, overdoses resulting in death from using fentanyl have increased rapidly and dramatically. In 2015, fentanyl-related deaths only made up 1% of all overdoses in the county, compared to 40% in 2020. 

In prescription form, fentanyl is known by brand names such as Duragesic®, Sublimaze®, and Actiq®. In its prescribed form, it comes in transdermal patches and lozenges.

However, at this point in time, fentanyl is frequently manufactured illegally and sold as an illicit drug known for its heroin-like effects. Other than ‘fentanyl,’ the illegal substance is also known as China White, China Girl, Jackpot, and Apache. It typically comes in the form of a powder but is also sold on blotter paper and in pill form. 

Fentanyl Side Effects 

Like other opioids, fentanyl binds to opioid receptors, which are located in the area of the brain that controls emotions and pain. 

Fentanyl side effects may include: 

  • Relaxation
  • Temporary feelings of euphoria
  • A short-term, intense high 
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Sedation
  • Trouble breathing
  • Unconsciousness 

Dangers of Fentanyl Use 

The ultimate risk of fentanyl use is death from an overdose. Due to the potency of fentanyl, overdose is, unfortunately, an increasingly common occurrence. In recent years, death from fentanyl, and other synthetic opioid overdoses, has skyrocketed. These synthetic narcotics, mainly fentanyl, are now the leading group of drugs contributing to overdose deaths. 

An individual may overdose on fentanyl without even being aware of its presence. This is because it is not uncommon for other drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, MDMA, or methamphetamines, to be laced with fentanyl. 

Fentanyl Abuse and Addiction Symptoms

When an individual is abusing or addicted to fentanyl, common symptoms that may appear include: 

  • Intense cravings and urges to use fentanyl
  • Desire to stop using fentanyl, but unable to do so
  • Increased tolerance to fentanyl, requiring larger doses for effect
  • Great amounts of time and energy spent seeking, using, and recovering from fentanyl use 
  • Inability to complete daily commitments and responsibilities due to fentanyl use 
  • Fentanyl use continues despite danger, negative consequences, or threats to health 
  • Withdrawal symptoms appear when fentanyl use is stopped or decreased 

Fentanyl Addiction Treatment

It is entirely possible to overcome fentanyl addiction. Thousands of individuals have done so, with appropriate treatment, support, and commitment to recovery. If you are considering seeking addiction treatment for yourself or a loved one, rest assured that help is widely available and recovery is possible. If you have questions or concerns, call us today. We at Rehab Carolinas are experienced in substance abuse and addiction and are here to help.