Fentanyl Addiction Treatment
One of the deadliest drugs we’ve ever seen, fentanyl continues to sweep the nation – including South Carolina. From 2020 to 2021 alone, overdose deaths from fentanyl in our home state increased by 35% – and all signs indicate that those numbers will continue to rise. What is fentanyl, why is it so dangerous, and is there hope if you’re addicted? Read on for everything you need to know from your local South Carolina resource for fentanyl addiction treatment.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, like OxyContin. It is synthetic because chemists create it in a lab (versus drugs like marijuana or cocaine that originate in nature). Opioids are a class of drugs that get their name from the opioid receptors in the brain – where these drugs have their impact. They block the transmission of pain signals, creating a sense of euphoria and pain relief. When used legitimately, they can be a powerful pain management tool. When abused, they can be deadly.
Fentanyl, in particular, is significantly stronger than other opioids, including heroin and oxycodone. It is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Although it originally was intended for use only in extreme medical circumstances like hospice or cancer care, it quickly made its way onto the street market in recent years – with deadly effects.
Signs of Fentanyl Addiction
Like other drugs, fentanyl takes a toll on the user’s body, mind, behavior, and life. Physically, you can see the signs of addiction manifested as “pinpoint” pupils, slower breathing, lower heart rate, and generally slowed movement. Mentally, it can cause confusion, drowsiness, and an inability to function normally. You might also notice mood swings or secretive behavior and lies.
The impact of fentanyl addiction on one’s life is also obvious: Users often find it hard to hold on to a job or perform well at one they have. Relationships suffer, and bills go unpaid. In short, life starts to fall apart at the seams quickly, and fentanyl is the cause.
Over time, the body develops a tolerance for fentanyl and requires more of the drug to produce the same effect. Users take more and more in search of that original high, often resulting in overdose. During a fentanyl overdose, the body’s respiratory and cardiovascular systems begin to shut down. Individuals experiencing an overdose may stop breathing and become unresponsive. A lack of oxygen will cause blue lips and fingers, and the heart rate will also slow to almost nothing. If left untreated, fentanyl overdose can end in cardiac arrest, respiratory arrest, or death. If anyone can administer Naloxone (Narcan), however, a life may be saved. In South Carolina, naloxone is available at pharmacies without a prescription.
Disturbingly, many people who overdose on fentanyl don’t even know they are consuming the drug. Increasingly, fentanyl is “cut” with other drugs like cocaine to produce a greater high. Fentanyl test strips are available for free at many locations in South Carolina to prevent unintentional fentanyl consumption.
Fentanyl Withdrawal & Medication-Assisted Treatment
Why do so many people continue taking fentanyl if it is so dangerous? As deadly as it can be, it is also difficult to quit. Fentanyl withdrawal can be extremely uncomfortable, causing nausea, chills, body aches, irritability, and other painful symptoms. Choosing a professional detox, however, can make fentanyl withdrawal safe and much more comfortable. Some addiction treatment facilities like Owl’s Nest even provide medication-assisted treatment to help you taper down from your opioid dose using appropriately prescribed medication. Kicking fentanyl does not have to be painful, and you don’t have to do it alone. Getting started is as simple as sending a chat on this page.
Get Help for Fentanyl Addiction
Once you have detoxed and the fentanyl is out of your system, the true work of recovery can begin: understanding why you used drugs in the first place. In dual-diagnosis drug rehab, you can identify and heal the inner traumas and mental health challenges you’ve carried untreated for years. You’ll learn skills to cope with life clean and sober while living in our peaceful wooded campus full of others on a journey of recovery like you. Hundreds of people have watched new hope take flight at Owl’s Nest. Could you become one of them? Contact our admissions team – many of whom have been in your shoes – to get started.