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What Is Fentanyl?
An Opioid Painkiller, Fentanyl is 100 times stronger than Morphine. Intended for severe pain relief, the drug blocks the pain receptors of the brain and increases dopamine production (the happiness-inducing chemical). This makes the drug highly addictive, like other Opioids. Illegal drug dealers have been using this Opioid as a means to increase potency and cut cost by surreptitiously mixing Fentanyl with other substances, especially Heroin. Tragically, the improper measuring of Fentanyl can easily lead to overdose and death.
Fentanyl goes by many different street names, including Apache, China Girl, China White, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfella, Jackpot, Murder 8, TNT, and Tango And Cash. The substance is also falsely presented as other common drugs when sold, like Heroin and Xanax.
What Is The History Of Fentanyl?
Fentanyl was created in a laboratory in Belgium in 1960. The drug was the product of research being conducted by Dr. Paul Janssen and his pharmaceutical company. The goal of the trials being conducted was to synthesize an Analgesic more potent and more safe than Morphine; these efforts succeeded, at least in regard to increased potency, when Phenoperidine was first created in 1957. Twenty-five times more potent than Morphine, Phenoperidine was the precursor to Fentanyl; Fentanyl, more potent than Phenoperidine by more than tenfold, was the most potent Opioid in the world at the time of its creation.
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Due to its potency, anyone who uses Fentanyl is highly susceptible to developing an addiction, whether they were prescribed the drug or not. Its Heroin-like effects have made it a popular filler for dealers to cut with and help retain customers. This is exposing more users to the effects of Fentanyl without their knowledge and getting them addicted to a drug they don’t even know they’re taking.
When this is the case, it can be even more difficult to get sober, go through withdrawals, or even dose properly. It is creating countless addicts who could unknowingly overdose at any moment. This presents a challenge, not only for the person with an addiction, but for clinics and first responders, as it is harder to treat something they don’t know is present.
Effects Of Fentanyl Use
Like other Opioids, Fentanyl works by binding to the areas of the brain that control pain and emotion. This produces a large increase in the dopamine levels in the brain’s reward areas, producing a state of euphoria, relaxation, and drowsiness. The drug is prescribed to patients who are dealing with extreme pain, often from severe cancer treatments or massive physical trauma. It is also sometimes used to treat chronic pain in patients who are physically tolerant to other Opioids. The drug has side effects like any other prescription. These include, but are not limited to:
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating
- Constricted pupils
- Physical weakness
- Shallow or irregular breaths
- Slowed heartbeat
- Dry mouth
- Flushing of skin
- Dry mouth
- Allergic reaction
While many are tempted by Fentanyl’s effects, it is very easy to fatally overdose on this drug. A lethal dose of the substance is only 2 milligrams, one-tenth of a lethal dose of Heroin. The CDC reported over 20,000 deaths in 2016 related to Fentanyl and its analogs. States like Florida have started treating the dealing of Fentanyl as attempted homicide, even charging dealers with murder if they can be connected to a victim who dies from overdose.
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Fentanyl Addiction Treatment
Treatment will vary based on the clinic chosen. It is strongly recommended that no one treat this severe addiction on their own. The process of detox can be intense for any addiction, but for something as powerful as Fentanyl, it is often even more severe. The right clinic can provide a medical solution to manage symptoms of withdrawal and keep you from unnecessary harm.
Recovering from an addiction, especially one which was developed unknowingly, doesn’t simply mean sobriety. It means getting your life back, finding purpose, and re-establishing the connections that may have been harmed by addiction.
If you or a loved one are looking for help, reach out today. Dedicated treatment providers are available around the clock.
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