Fentanyl

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Of all the prescription painkillers people commonly abuse, none are as powerful – or as deadly – as fentanyl. Increasingly, illicit fentanyl produced in clandestine laboratories is cutting a deadly swath through drug users.

Believe it. In 2012, there were 14 fentanyl-related deaths in the state of Connecticut. In 2015, the number rose to 188. Worse, illicit fentanyl shows up in other drugs. In 2015, fake Xanax pills in California contained fentanyl, and in early 2016 the drug turned up in counterfeit Norco pills in California’s Bay Area.

Intentional or otherwise, there may be no more dangerous substance habit than fentanyl drug abuse. Sovereign Health knows the desperate circumstances that often drive drug habits, and our Chandler, Arizona, treatment facility for women offers a safe, comfortable place to move beyond fentanyl addiction and into a happier life.

Fentanyl Drug Abuse

Fentanyl is prescribed via injection, patch or in lozenge form. Outside of fentanyl patch abuse, illicit fentanyl is sold as powder – often called “china white” – or on blotter paper. Often, illicit fentanyl is sold as or added to heroin or pain pills.

The danger of fentanyl lies is its strength – the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates fentanyl is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Fentanyl is usually prescribed for patients who are dealing with severe pain, as well as chronic pain patients who do not respond to other opioid medications.

Fentanyl can be toxic in very small amounts, so most of the prescribed forms of fentanyl come with various time-release safeguards. When abused, users often ingest an entire dose of fentanyl at once, creating a tremendous risk of overdose.

Most people who abuse fentanyl often move onto it after a long period of abusing other opioids, attracted by its strength. More dangerously, fentanyl is sometimes mixed with other drugs including heroin and cocaine to increase their strength and effects … along with their dangers.

Signs of Fentanyl Abuse

  • A lack of energy
  • Itching and scratching
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea and vomiting

Red Flags of Fentanyl Abuse

  • Pharmaceutical packaging in the trash
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Constricted pupils
  • Slurred speech and clumsy movements

Fentanyl Inside the Body

Like other opioid drugs, fentanyl changes the body’s perception of pain by binding to opioid receptors, found in areas of the brain controlling pain and emotions. As opioids bind with these receptors, the body produces more of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which plays a major role in the body’s reward system. This increase of dopamine brings feelings of euphoria and calm, the “high” that drives users to abuse opioids.

Also like other opioid drugs, fentanyl can essentially teach the brain it needs fentanyl to function properly. When a person who has taken fentanyl for a period of time stops taking the drug, they may experience intense, unpleasant flu-like symptoms. These fentanyl abuse side effects, also known as withdrawal symptoms, can often be so bad a person may continue to abuse fentanyl just to avoid them.

Finally, it’s possible to build up tolerance to fentanyl’s effects if the drug is taken for long periods of time. Many users find themselves using greater doses of fentanyl to achieve the same effects – given fentanyl’s toxicity, a larger dose can turn lethal very quickly.

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Getting Help for Fentanyl Abuse

Addiction is addiction, regardless of whether the drug came with a prescription or was purchased illegally. Fentanyl’s high strength makes addiction particularly dangerous. However, fentanyl addiction treatment can help patients stop using and move past addiction into a happier life. Sovereign Health provides expert treatment for women addicted to fentanyl and other opioids at our Chandler, Arizona, treatment facility.

Sovereign takes a holistic view toward its patients. Addiction is a disease with physical and mental characteristics, and Sovereign strives to treat both. We also strive to individually tailor a treatment program to each patient’s particular needs.

At Chandler, we make use of evidence-based traditional treatment methods like cognitive behavioral therapy and other forms of psychotherapy. Additionally, patients can participate in alternative therapies like yoga and art/music therapy. Sovereign also understands the effects trauma can have on a person’s substance abuse, which is why we specialize in treating survivors of trauma and abuse.

Our residential treatment center provides our patients with a safe, comfortable place where women can address their substance challenges in a distraction-free environment.

Why Choose Sovereign Health?

We are a premiere provider of substance abuse, mental health and dual diagnosis treatment for women. Why?

  • Our Chandler facility is approved by the Joint Commission, the U.S.’s largest and oldest health care accreditation organization
  • We specialize in treating survivors of abuse and trauma
  • Sovereign’s individual approach towards treatment ensures the best chance at a full recovery.

For more information on our treatment for fentanyl patch abuse and fentanyl addiction, please contact our 24/7 helpline. A healthier life can start today.

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