Searidge Foundation provides an individualized treatment plan for individuals struggling with Fentanyl addiction. All our plans are uniquely catered to the patient through informed shared decision-making. Here, we provide a variety of evidence-based treatment options in which patients can explore on their way to living an addiction-free life.
WHAT IS FENTANYL?
Fentanyl is an opioid drug (i.e., narcotic) that is typically used for its analgesic and anesthetic properties within a clinical setting. It is significantly more potent than both morphine and heroin. Oftentimes, it is administered through a patch or lozenge when prescribed by a medical profession. However, in a non-clinical setting, other opioids are often cut with Fentanyl. As of 2017, reports reveal that there has been over a 2000% increase in the amount of Fentanyl-cut heroin on the streets of Halifax.
FENTANYL ADDICTION – WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
Typically, individuals who use this drug have already developed a tolerance to lesser potent narcotics (e.g., heroin) therefore they are seeking something stronger. Addiction by first time use is rare. In fact, individuals who experiment with this drug without any previous opioid tolerance are putting themselves in an extremely dangerous situation. As it happens, these cases are more often fatal. Withdrawal and tolerance drive continued Fentanyl use, as previously alluded to. Individuals with an addiction to this drug may experience the following symptoms of withdrawal: irritation, diarrhea, stomach pains, nausea or vomiting, insomnia, fatigue, uncontrolled sweating, and muscle spasms or bone pain. The effects of withdrawal are so intense that people will often seek out the drug at the expense of their own safety and despite any consequences. These symptoms typically begin after 12 to 30 hours of having not taken the drug and disappear after a few days, however, not without getting worse first. Reportedly, it takes about a month for individuals to feel “normal” again.
EFFECTS OF FENTANYL USE
Short-term use of this drug is met with feelings of euphoria, drowsiness, and confusion. Some users report nausea and vomiting, constipation, and anesthesia. Oftentimes, short-term use can be fatal due to overdose. Those who administer the drug over the long run can develop tolerance to the analgesic effect, as well as, both psychology and physical dependence.
PHARMACOLOGY – HOW DOES IT WORK?
The pharmacology of Fentanyl is the like other opioid drugs. The differentiating factor is that this drug is more potent, therefore, its users require less of it or can consume the same amount as other opioids but achieve more effect. Fentanyl, like Morphine, is a Mu receptor agonist. In other words, it is structurally similar to that of naturally occurring opioids in the body. This allows it to bind to the same receptors as endogenous opioids and stimulate them. As of current, there are two types of Mu receptors: 1 and 2. The Mu1 receptor is responsible for the analgesic effects of the drug that are achieved in a clinical setting. Mu2 receptors can sedate users and lead to vomiting, respiratory depression, euphoria, anorexia, retention of urine. Moreover, Mu2 receptors are credited to be the cause for physical dependence.