Fentanyl is a manmade drug that was first synthesized by Paul Janssen, a Belgian physician, in 1960. It is primarily used by doctors for anesthesia or to treat chronic pain, although fentanyl abuse is becoming increasingly common. Among the many dangers of fentanyl, the substance is often consumed recreationally or mixed with heroin, increasing the risk of overdose. If you or a loved one is struggling with opioid addiction, reach out to Lighthouse Recovery’s fentanyl addiction treatment program in Florida.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid far more deadly than heroin or morphine. Thus, even a small dose can result in fatal complications for the individual. To learn more about the dangers of fentanyl and our personalized opioid addiction treatment programs, call us at 866.308.2090.
Dangers of Fentanyl
Fentanyl is a highly popular prescription drug, with over 1 million prescriptions in the U.S. alone. However, fentanyl is also circulated illegally, with dangerous side effects. Fentanyl is frequently administered in the following ways:
- Skin patch
- Nasal or oral spray
- Lozenge or tablet
The most common dangers of fentanyl include:
- As a synthetic drug, fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Thus, even taking a small amount of fentanyl (as low as 0.25 milligrams) can result in an overdose.
- Fentanyl is often used to create “fake” pills. Thus, they may be illegally sold as OxyContin, Xanax, or Adderall.
- Drug dealers often mix fentanyl with heroin or cocaine to increase the potency or even sell fentanyl as heroin, leading to an accidental overdose.
- A single fentanyl patch can prove fatal if accidentally misused by a child.
- Fentanyl can be manufactured illegally with relative ease. It can also be mixed with most varieties of pills. Thus, any pill that is bought illegally without a prescription or not from a pharmacy may contain this toxic substance.
- It isn’t possible to identify if a particular pill contains fentanyl by its looks, taste, or smell.
- Even a person who wishes to “experiment” with fentanyl just once carries the risk of overdose and death.
- Fentanyl analogs (which are substances that mimic fentanyl but have a different chemical structure, consequently resulting in different effects) can be even more potent than fentanyl. For example, carfentanil (which is used to anesthetize large animals like bears and elephants) is 10,000 times stronger than morphine.
Signs of Fentanyl Abuse and Opioid Addiction
Thus, while fentanyl can be a life-saving medicine for pain management in some instances, it has a high risk for abuse, especially when used recreationally. Short-term side effects of fentanyl abuse include:
- Constricted pupils
Fentanyl is so potent that even a small quantity of it in the bloodstream can lead to a fatal overdose. Signs of a fentanyl overdose include:
- Slow, shallow breathing, or stopped breathing
- Gasping or gurgling
- Pale, clammy skin
- Wooden chest syndrome
- Decreased heart rate
- Coma or loss of consciousness
- Blue/grey lips and fingernails
- Stiffening of the body
- Foaming at the mouth
If you suspect that someone near you is suffering from a fentanyl overdose, call 911 right away and seek immediate medical help. In most cases, the medical team may administer naloxone to reverse the effects of fentanyl. Afterward, the patient must seek professional treatment at a rehab to recover from the deadly side effects of fentanyl abuse and treat their opioid addiction.
Get Help and Healing at Lighthouse Recovery
At Lighthouse Recovery, it is never too late to seek help. Over the years, our expert staff has helped countless Florida residents recover from addiction and rebuild their lives for the better. At our clinic in Boynton Beach, FL, we offer a variety of programs that can be further personalized as per the client’s unique needs. From partial hospitalization to intensive outpatient treatment and even aftercare, our 90-day programs are designed to get your life back on track.
Call us at 866.308.2090 and take the first step towards a happier life today.