What is Fentanyl?

11/27/19: Drug Addiction
Fentanyl is a drug that is 50 to 100 times more potent than synthetic opioids such as morphine. Opioids communicate with opioid receptors in the brain to produce a wide range of responses in the body, from pain relief sensations to comfort, enjoyment, euphoria, and satisfaction. This drug goes by many popular street names such as Apache, China Girl, China White, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfella, Jackpot, Murder 8, TNT, Tango, and Cash. Illegal fentanyl is sold as a powder, dropped onto blotter paper, nasal spray, or eyedropper. When prescribed the drug is often put into pill or capsule form. 

How people use and abuse it

Fentanyl may be used as an injection, a patch on a person's skin, or as swallowable pills like cough drops. It is used to alleviate severe, intensive periods of pain through 24-hour narcotic care. This is a prescription drug under the Schedule II drug category and is usually used for the prevention and control of discomfort in patients with severe pain such as after surgery or during cancer treatment.

Is Fentanyl dangerous?

Heroin is an extremely dangerous drug that is widely abused; it is one of the most potent drugs out there. However, Fentanyl is even more powerful and even more dangerous than heroin. The distinction between fentanyl and heroin relies upon their different chemical compositions. The chemical composition of fentanyl and heroin allows the drug to be fused to neurotransmitters in the brain, but the drug fentanyl is even faster than heroin. The production of dopamine in brain regions rises as the opioid attaches to these receptors and results in great elation and relief. This drug can affect all areas of the body including muscle control and brain function. Fentanyl can have extreme physiological and psychological effects that may cause death if the user takes too much or abuses the substance too often. 

What is the effect of Fentanyl in the body?

Because this drug is so potent, it can have extreme effects on a person. Here some of the common side-effects of fentanyl use:
  • Dizziness 
  • Confusion 
  • Constipation 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Weakness 
  • Unconsciousness 
  • Pupils dilation
  • Slowed breathing 
  • High heart rate 
  • Nausea
  • Sweating 
  • Confusion 
  • Stiff muscle

What are the risk factors of Fentanyl?

As with all opiates, there is a possibility of dependence. Physical dependence contributes to withdrawal symptoms once people stop taking the drug suddenly. Fentanyl abusers quickly develop tolerance which implies that more of the drug is required to achieve the desired effects. Continual use of opioids contributes to dependency – a persistent withdrawal disorder that goes beyond physical dependence and is characterized by uncontrollable conduct in the drug seeker’s company amid adverse and negative consequences. The signs of withdrawal usually start within 12 hours of the last opioid dosage and may continue for a week or longer. An individual will experience withdrawal symptoms such as:
  • Anxiety
  • Chills
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Heavy systemic discomfort

Drug treatments

For opioid-dependent people, fentanyl is sometimes used as a heroin replacement. Nevertheless, due to its significant power and failure for consumers to calculate safe doses, it is an extremely dangerous alternative, often contributing to fatal overdoses. Fentanyl exposure should be treated immediately with naloxone, an opioid depressant that works against the drug’s effects. An opioid may be reversed with naloxone. Due to the high potency of non-pharmaceutical fentanyl, higher, or multiple, doses of naloxone may be needed to revive the person. Medication and conducted therapy have shown to be effective in treating patients with opioid dependence, as have other opiate addictions. Doctors can use prescribed medicines for a person with fentanyl dependence. By binding the same brain opioid receivers as fentanyl, buprenorphine and methadone minimize cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Naltrexone, another drug, inhibits opioid receptors and eliminates opioids from the body. People can discuss treatment options with a health care provider. Competence therapy for opioid addiction, such as fentanyl, can assist people in changing their drug-related attitudes and behavior, improve their health, and keep their medication on track. Examples of competence therapy may include: Cognitive compartmental treatment  It helps to alter patient behavior, expectations and helps manage triggers and stress efficiently. It also helps a person overcome his or her anxiety, which is often something a person experiences from drug withdrawal. Contingency control  In this form of treatment, doctors use a reward system that gives "points" to patients through adverse screening. You can use the points to earn things that promote a healthy lifestyle. Motivational Consultation It is a perfect patient-centric approach that addresses the mixed feeling the individual may be dealing with. Fentanyl is an exceptionally potent medication that provides significant pain relief to those who have serious or chronic pain problems, but can also cause significant damage or death to those who overuse or are unintentionally exposed.  There’s no denying the fact that fentanyl is an extremely lethal drug. It is a synthetic opioid that has been causing people to overdose all over the country. Some people who abuse other substances like cocaine or heroin sometimes unknowingly receive a dose of fentanyl in their illegally-obtained product. What they don’t realize is that drug dealers are starting to cut some other illicit substances with fentanyl in order to create a greater high for their users. They do this so they can get more regular customers. However, this drug is so potent that even a small dose can cause a person to overdose. Combine that with another powerful substance like cocaine or heroin and a person could very well die from the potency. It’s important that people know the dangers of this drug and educate themselves more on substance abuse. 

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