Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid that is mainly used to treat individuals with serious abdominal pain. When administered under a physician’s supervision, fentanyl is supplied by an injection, a transdermal patch, or in lozenges. 

Conversely, fentanyl is also used for different purposes on the streets that pose a danger to communities. In the streets, fentanyl has been linked to a recent surge in overdoses

It’s generally sold as a powder, mixed with heroin, or as opioid-like tablets. Like many other opioids, fentanyl connects to the opioid receptors in the body that increase brain dopamine levels.

Fentanyl is a dangerous substance that can lead to chaotic addictions. Our dedicated addiction counselors are here to guide you along the recovery journey as you overcome addiction. Keep reading to learn more about fentanyl addiction and how our treatment programs can help.

How are Fentanyl Overdoses Impacting Communities?

Oxycodone was one of the main medications related to deaths from overdose in 2011. Heroin exceeded painkillers in overdose deaths starting in 2012 and continuing until 2015. Then came up fentanyl. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have also called the opioid epidemic fentanyl the “third phase.” 

By 2016, fentanyl-induced overdose deaths had become the most common. Data indicate that the rate of fentanyl-related opioid overdose deaths doubled every year from 2013 to 2016. 

Those numbers continued to rise in 2017, as reported by a brief of CDC data. Fentanyl overdose deaths had risen to 9 per 100,000 people, compared with 6.2 per 100,000 in 2016.

Is Fentanyl Illegally Produced?

Fentanyl is illegally produced in labs. This synthetic fentanyl is sold illegally as a powder, dropped onto blotter paper, put in eye droppers and nasal sprays, or made into pills that look like similar prescription opioids.

Fentanyl is also commonly mixed with other drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and MDMA. This is because it takes very little to produce a high with fentanyl, making it a cheaper option. 

What are the Signs of Fentanyl Addiction?

Fentanyl addiction is defined by having a severe dependency on the drug. This may also include continued use despite severe consequences. Consequences include legal trouble, damaged relationships, and many other interpersonal issues.

Other signs of fentanyl addiction include:

Fentanyl Overdose

A serious sign that an individual is addicted to fentanyl is experiencing a fentanyl overdose. Due to the potency of fentanyl, consuming more than what is prescribed can easily result in an overdose. 

A fentanyl overdose can have fatal consequences if not dealt with immediately. A fentanyl overdose can be recognized by depressing breathing and pinpoint pupils. Other symptoms include a faint pulse, loss of coordination, and unconsciousness. 

Substance-Seeking Behavior

Those addicted to a drug such as fentanyl will deliberately go out of their way to obtain it. For example, one may go “doctor shopping” to obtain additional prescriptions. It’s also common for individuals to steal prescriptions or money from friends or family.

Experiencing Negative Life Consequences

Abusing a substance can lead to many serious consequences in an individual’s life. For example, they may begin to lose track of time and stop fulfilling their obligations. The negative effects of fentanyl addiction include financial hardships, losing friends or loved ones, job loss, and legal trouble.

Significant Behavioral Changes

It helps to keep in mind that the signs of addiction can be subtle, as well as obvious. Be honest with yourself when assessing whether or not you may have a fentanyl addiction. 

It can creep up on you without your own realizing it. Significant behavioral changes may include:

  • Fentanyl is taken in larger amounts or over a larger period than intended
  • The individual has a desire to lessen use, but cannot successfully do so
  • The person spends a great deal of time obtaining, using or recovering from fentanyl
  • The individual loses joy and value in activities that were once important in their life
  • The individual uses fentanyl in risky conditions

What Are Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms?

Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms range in severity based on the length and severity of the addiction. These withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, depression, headaches, and other discomforting synonyms. 

These effects are known as drug withdrawal. This is the process in which the body deals with functioning without a substance it learned to depend on. Fortunately, we offer many resources to treat and alleviate these symptoms. 

Discontinuing long-term fentanyl use can seem overwhelming. However, the more you educate yourself on the topic, the more confident you’ll feel in being able to overcome it.

Common fentanyl withdrawal symptoms include: 

  • Sweating
  • Uncontrollable trembling
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Craving for more drugs
  • Muscle cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Sleeplessness
  • Depression, anxiety, irritability, and other mood changes

 

In severe cases, withdrawal symptoms can include hallucinations and seizures. This is why it’s critical to undergo treatment at an accredited treatment center with medical professionals. 

We’ll make sure to monitor your withdrawal symptoms to ensure you’re safe through the detoxification process. 

The withdrawal effects generally take place between six and 36 hours after the last dose of fentanyl. The length of an individual’s withdrawal process is dependent upon:

  • How long fentanyl has been used
  • Average dosage, including the last intake
  • The individual’s medical history 
  • General tolerance level for pain and pain medication

How Does Detoxification Play a Role in Fentanyl Addiction Treatment?

Detoxification is generally the first step of a fentanyl addiction treatment program. Through detox, individuals will cleanse their bodies of harmful substances accumulated through substance use. 

The three steps of medical detox are: 

  • Evaluation

The assessment consists of a questionnaire, a physical examination, blood tests, and a screening for co-occurring mental health or other medical conditions. Our medical professionals will be diagnosing the psychological and physical condition of the individual. 

A medical practitioner would then use this knowledge to develop a personalized care plan. It is a key step in tailoring a treatment plan to fit the specific needs of an individual.

  • Stabilization

Stabilization is the step where recovering individuals stop using. Medical professionals then help the individual achieve a healthy, stable state. 

Medication may be prescribed to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and lessen the discomfort for the individual.

  • Preparation

Preparation is a key step. This allows individuals to have a set plan for addiction recovery and overall improvement. A treatment plan will be carefully created including many different therapies targeting the roots of addiction. 

What is Residential Treatment for Fentanyl Addiction?

Residential treatment also referred to as inpatient rehabilitation, is the most intensive form of care. Residential treatment requires the recovering individual to live at our recovery center while receiving treatment. 

Each day there will be a structured routine full of evidence-based therapies. Every individual has a uniquely customized plan based on their needs. These programs generally run from 28 to 90 days.

Other activities will also be incorporated into treatment such as support groups, meditation, and spiritual connection practices that promote holistic care. Holistic care takes in the body, mind, and spirit. We believe in treating each individual from the inside out. 

What is Outpatient Treatment for Fentanyl Addiction?

Outpatient treatment includes scheduled treatment sessions at a recovery center every week. Outpatient treatment offers the most flexibility for individuals recovering from fentanyl addiction. 

Rather than residing at our treatment center, individuals will be able to return home after their addiction recovery sessions. Some may choose to attend one session a week, while others may need three to five weekly sessions.

If you have serious obligations outside of treatment, then outpatient treatment may be an ideal fit for you. You’ll be able to take care of your responsibilities while simultaneously receiving the help that you deserve. 

Whether you’re taking care of a child or attending school, we’ll work around your schedule to make the treatment work. 

What are Additional Fentanyl Addiction Treatment Services?

Each treatment plan we develop is customized to the specific needs of a recovering individual. The combination of used therapies and programs can differ from person to person. 

Nevertheless, the basis of our care will include: 

  • Counseling services: Counseling plays a significant role in the treatment of fentanyl addiction. Addiction often presents underlying issues like a mental health disorder. Our committed recovery counselors will help you develop tools and strategies for coping to help you sustain sobriety in the long term. 
  • Health support: The long term use of opioids impacts your physical health. This is where our panel of specialists comes in.
  • Supportive peer community: We understand the value of peer-to-peer support at the Discovery Institute. Our community guidance and support services will encourage you throughout the recovery journey.  

Overcome Fentanyl Addiction and Take Those First Steps Towards Recovery Today!

No matter how lost you may feel, we assure you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We encourage you to take that first step towards recovery by giving us a call today.

We offer the highest quality of resources and extended support services. The moment you walk through our doors, in-person or virtually, you become a part of our family.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us here for more information about fentanyl addiction treatment programs. 

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.