Fentanyl Misuse and How to Recognize the Warning Signs

Fentanyl is a pharmacological substance used to alleviate pain that is frequently made illegally and marketed by drug traffickers.

12/21/20224 min read

Fentanyl is a pharmacological substance used to alleviate pain that is frequently made illegally and marketed by drug traffickers. The drug is one of a number of highly strong opioids whose addiction has become a major public health issue in recent years.

Because fentanyl and its cousins are synthesized rather than obtained from plants, they are also referred to as synthetic medications other than methadone. These types of medicines are incredibly powerful and deadly. To activate the opioid receptor, just a small amount is required, and the substance will stay in the bloodstream for a long time.

What Is Fentanyl and How Does It Work?

Fentanyl is a powerful medication for acute and chronic pain, having a rapid onset of action and substantial analgesic effects. It is manufactured for therapeutic purposes. This extremely powerful medicine is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, which explains why it works so well for pain relief.

Fentanyl is distributed as a patch as a pharmaceutical product, allowing for a steady, long-lasting delivery of drug through the skin. It's also available as a lozenge, tablet, or film that dissolves in the mouth. The black market has increasingly mass-produced fentanyl and fentanyl-like chemicals in a variety of forms during the last decade.

Without the buyer's knowledge, fentanyl and other related chemicals are frequently added to heroin and vice versa. Drug dealers frequently sell these synthetic analogs as counterfeit prescription opioids. Fentanyl, as well as other fentanyl analogs, are examples of extraordinarily strong synthetic opioids prevalent on the streets.

  • sufentanil

  • alfentanil

  • remifentanil

  • carfentanil

This list also includes innovative synthetic opioids that are illicitly created, such as:

  • Fentanyl acetyl

  • fentanyl butyryl

  • beta-hydroxythiofentanyl

  • fentanyl fentanyl fentanyl fentanyl fent

  • U-47700

Is Fentanyl a Controlled Substance?

Fentanyl is lawful and can be a beneficial drug when prescribed for pain relief and taken as instructed by your doctor. It is, nevertheless, equally unlawful as any other opioid, including heroin, whether used recreationally or improperly.

The Drug Enforcement Agency responds to each new deadly synthetic opioid molecule on the streets by adding it to the long list of Scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act. This includes describing the drug's therapeutic usage parameters, if any, as well as the danger of prosecution if it is disseminated or swallowed.

Fentanyl Is Misused in a Variety of Ways

Fentanyl is offered as a powder that is put on blotter paper like little candies, as eye droppers or nasal sprays, or as pills that look like actual prescription opiates. Pharmaceutical fentanyl is typically available in the form of a patch, lozenge, tablet, or film. Fentanyl can be absorbed in a variety of ways when it is misused, including orally, over the skin, by snorting, injecting, or inhaling following volatilization.

Fentanyl Abuse Symptoms and Side Effects

Opioid use disorder can develop in people who misuse fentanyl and other synthetic opioids (OUD). This indicates that they have lost control of their use, are abusing the drug, and have a compulsive need to continue taking it despite the negative repercussions.

Tolerance develops in people with OUD, which means they need to take more of the drug to achieve the same effect. In addition to tolerance, people with OUD might suffer from severe and unpleasant symptoms during withdrawal, which occurs when they stop using the opioid. The physical and psychological indications of fentanyl abuse, addiction, and withdrawal are similar to those of other opioids, and are thoroughly documented in this page. The following are some of the most common side effects of fentanyl and other opioids:

  • Euphoria

  • Analgesia

  • Anxiety decreases

  • Drowsiness

  • Relaxation

  • Respiratory drive is reduced.

  • Constipation

  • Confusion

  • Retention of urine

  • pupils that are constricted

  • Nausea

  • Itching

  • Suppression of cough

  • Blood pressure that is too low

  • Fainting

The following are some of the most common symptoms of fentanyl and other opioid overdose:

  • Stupor

  • Skin that is cold and clammy

  • Skin that is blue in color.

  • Pupils should be identified.

  • Coma

  • Failure of the respiratory system

  • Death

Abuse of Fentanyl Possibilities
Misuse of fentanyl, whether pharmaceutical grade or illicitly made, involves a number of hazards, just like other opioids. Euphoria can be caused by any opioid. Tolerance and withdrawal develop as they are taken almost daily or daily, leading to the development of addiction or OUD. OUD is frequently associated with considerable impairment in function, including job loss, loss of friends and family, and financial difficulty.

Misuse of fentanyl, as well as other illegally made synthetic opioids, carries extra hazards not observed with traditional opioids. This is due to a number of factors. For one thing, fentanyl is exceedingly easy to overdose on. Fentanyl and other synthetic medicines have a high potency, which means they bind to the opioid receptor considerably more quickly than natural opioids. Despite the fact that the euphoric impact is very temporary, these substances persist in the body for days since they are quickly absorbed by other tissues after intake.

In the United States, overdose deaths from these substances are now the most common cause of opioid overdoses. In 2017, about 50,000 people died of an opioid overdose, with fentanyl and other high-potency synthetic opioids other than methadone accounting for 60% of the deaths. Furthermore, illicitly produced synthetic opioids such as fentanyl are frequently combined with stimulants (methamphetamine, cocaine, MDMA) and other hazardous substances. As a result, ingesting them can often result in extra negative yet unanticipated repercussions.

Getting Help for Fentanyl Addiction

There are options available if you or a loved one is dealing with a fentanyl addiction. The treatment for a fentanyl addiction is nearly same to that for an OUD. Counseling and support groups are beneficial for OUD, but drugs that reduce cravings and prevent relapse are the cornerstone of treatment. Medications for Addiction Treatment is the name given to this evidence-based method (MAT).

MAT entails the administration of one of three classes of drugs (specifically, buprenorphine-based pharmaceuticals such as Suboxone, naltrexone, and methadone) that have been shown in several trials to enhance function while lowering the risk of overdose and mortality. When compared to other opioids, however, certain factors make fentanyl use disorder more difficult to treat. Because illicit fentanyl is frequently combined with other narcotics, there may be other issues to address, such as stimulant use disorder.

Furthermore, because fentanyl stays in the body for days, it may be more difficult to start the two OUD treatment drugs, buprenorphine and naltrexone, which should only be given while someone is in withdrawal. Despite this difficulty, Suboxone remains an appropriate first-line treatment for patients who are addicted to fentanyl. Suboxone outperforms methadone in terms of safety and convenience, as well as being easier to start than naltrexone and having comparable efficacy. As a result, if someone with fentanyl use disorder can get started on Suboxone without difficulty, it can be a very useful treatment choice.