One of the three drugs responsible for creating the deadly U.S. opioid epidemic other than prescription pain pills and heroin is fentanyl.
What is Fentanyl and what are treatments for its rehabilitation?
Fentanyl is an opiate, a type of drug made from the opium poppy. These can include illegal drugs like heroin. Other opiates can be scheduled substances like morphine and codeine. Although there is a medicinal form of fentanyl, it is highly abused and even more so in recent years due to its importation, lacing. Its impact on the brain and central nervous system is immense.
How Fentanyl Affects the Brain
The brain has receptors that work with endorphins. Opiates work like endorphins on these receptors but are stronger than what the brain produces. Opiates create a numbing effect, pleasure, relaxation, and even a sense of euphoria but can also slow or even stop breathing. The feeling of joy and numbing might create habits and addictions. Decreased breathing can be dangerous or even lethal.
What is Fentanyl
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is up to 99 times more potent than morphine and up to 60 times more potent than heroin. It is both a prescribed drug and a drug that is at times made and used illegally. Doctor prescribed fentanyl can be given as lozenges that are sucked like cough drops or as patches on the skin.
What are medical uses for Fentanyl?
It is prescribed in the event of chronic, severe pain derived from nerve damage, back injury, cancer, major trauma, surgery, and for people who have developed a tolerance to other opioids and those sometimes for insomnia.
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opiate that is up to 99 times more potent than morphine and up to 60 times more potent than heroin. It is both a prescribed drug and a drug that is at times made and used illegally. When prescribed by a doctor, fentanyl can be by a nurse as tablets that are sucked like cough drops or as patches on the skin.
Medicinal fentanyl comes in several different forms and strengths, including:
transdermal patches (Durogesic® and generic versions)
intravenous injection (Sublimaze®).
Illegal Fentanyl and the Black Market
The black market manufactures a synthetic form of fentanyl with heroin-like effects that threaten the wellbeing of millions.
This illegally manufactured fentanyl is sold unlawfully as a powder, dropped onto blotter paper, put in eye droppers and nasal sprays, or made into counterfeit pills that resemble other prescription opioids.
Roots of the Fentanyl crisis
The Fentanyl Epidemic
The current fentanyl “epidemic” is an escalation of an existing problem. Doctors are now realizing that many legal opiate-based medications were over-prescribed. Fentanyl may have hit the news with alarming overdoses, but it is part of a more significant opiate crisis in North America and Europe.
Why is Fentanyl a Threat
Fentanyl Side Effects
Fentanyl is dangerous because many people are using it without a prescription. Many people are using synthetic Fentanyl, which has been produced in the black market as a recreational drug.
This type of use results in quick independence, which can then lead to Fentanyl abuse and overdose. Many users will also mix Fentanyl with other illegal drugs, prescribed medication, and alcohol and increase their chances of health issues or overdose.
Addicts often mix it with heroin or cocaine to induce euphoria.
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