Fentanyl or “Fent” as it is referred to on the street, is one of the most potent substances gaining popularity as a recreational drug of choice today. According to law enforcement, the spike in fentanyl use is being fueled by unscrupulous drug dealers. The drug is introduced to many unsuspecting consumers disguised as oxycodone prescription pills or combined with other substances like low quality heroin to intensify the effects of the drug. As such, many heroin and prescription pill addicts are at risk of a lethal exposure to this drug. Because of fentanyl’s strong potency in relation to drugs like morphine and heroin it is measured in micrograms as opposed to milligrams and legitimate for use primarily in clinical practice as an anesthetic or to treat opioid-tolerant patients with severe pain. In fact, this drug is so potent that in the last five years it seems there has been more talk about fentanyl overdose deaths than concerns about fentanyl addiction stories.
One of the first things an individual addicted to fentanyl has to do to remove themselves from the threat of a lethal overdose is to embrace acceptance and change. But what recovering addict Griffin learned is that “acceptance is hard and change can be excruciating”, he says in his addiction story. However, these are the core tenets that he learned during his time in rehab that enabled him to escape the vicious cycles of addiction.
In addition to the recreational use of fentanyl, there has been more reported cases of patients transitioning from medical use to misuse of this drug. In Matthew Pucket’s story, his death was one in a cluster of fentanyl drug overdose fatalities. Matthew began using fentanyl for pain management after a back injury. According Matthew’s family, he went from popping pills to ingesting patches of fentanyl. After concerned family members warned him of the danger of using this drug, he agreed to do a drug detox. Before heading to the detox facility however, Matthew decided to take a nap. Sadly, despite efforts to revive him, Matthew died that morning. An overdose of fentanyl was reported as the cause of death.
Whether fentanyl abuse began because of medical or recreational use, getting help for a dependence or addiction to this substance as soon as possible is paramount. Drug abuse experts warn that there is no safe recreational use of fentanyl. The high potential for fast addiction to this drug and the neurological complexities presented by habituated use of fentanyl makes it necessary for individuals to receive appropriate medical attention to stop the abuse.
When an individual is abusing fentanyl, the signs can include:
In a fentanyl overdose situation, patients may become unconscious, experience cardiac arrest, severe respiratory depression or coma. In the event any of these symptoms occur, it is important to seek emergency medical attention immediately. Large doses of fentanyl or if the drug is blended with other toxic substances has been known to result in sudden death. People in addiction to this drug should also be aware that tolerance levels continue to build which creates a progressive need for higher doses of fentanyl.
Treatment for fentanyl abuse entails a comprehensive continuum of care that typically begins with halting consumption through a medically supervised detoxification procedure followed by a period of pharmacological and therapeutic interventions.
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