Opinion: To combat the fentanyl crisis, the U S. should further target the supply chain

However, it is a very dangerous substitute because of its marked potency and the inability for people to gauge dosages, resulting in frequent deadly overdoses. Some people make designer https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/what-reasons-for-you-to-stay-sober/ fentanyl analogs, which are nearly identical to the original drug. Since fentanyl and its analogs are incredibly potent, accidental overdoses and deaths are increasingly common.

  • There can be complications that occur as you detox from fentanyl, regardless of the form you used.
  • A significant danger of opioid addiction is the need to increase the amount you’re taking.
  • People who use fentanyl swiftly develop a tolerance to high doses, meaning that more of the drug is needed to achieve the desired effect.
  • “We’ve had an entire community swept away,” said Louise Vincent, a harm reduction activist in North Carolina, who says she still sometimes uses street opioids including fentanyl.
  • It’s also used as a low-cost additive to other drugs like heroin, methamphetamine, molly, and ecstasy.

If you take Fentanyl for a long time, even when following your doctor’s guidelines, you could develop a physical dependence on it. If you suddenly stop taking the drug, you might experience withdrawal symptoms, too. Off-label, it’s sometimes used for people who are intubated, such as those with renal failure or cancer. It can also be used to treat epilepsy, in combination with other medications.


The illicit fentanyl supply chain can be compared to a virus – a microscopic organism that can mutate and infect many hosts. Just as doctors need vaccines and treatments to combat a virus, the United States cannot stop this drug epidemic without international cooperation as well as harsher punishment. The FDA approved the first over-the-counter nasal naloxone spray in March.

They also create a temporary sense of intense well-being or euphoria. That sensation wears off as the drugs leave your system, but the desire to reproduce that feeling may linger. If you then seek out more opioids, you can kick off a cycle of drug use that is very hard to break. For fentanyl patches if you are using the skin patches on a schedule, apply the missed patch as soon as you remember.

More on Substance Abuse and Addiction

Even if a person wants to stop taking fentanyl, addiction makes it hard for them to do so. Fentanyl is known in brand name forms as Actiq, Duragesic, Sublimaze and others. When someone is buying or selling fentanyl on the streets, it may be known by many names, including Apache, China Girl, China White and others. Illicit forms of fentanyl may be combined with heroin, making them so powerful that people can overdose on small amounts. But the fact that it’s become harder for doctors to prescribe buprenorphine is concerning in its own right. While the medication is highly effective, it’s also tightly regulated, meaning convincing doctors who aren’t addiction specialists to prescribe it has long been challenging.

If mixed with other drugs or alcohol, adverse symptoms can get worse, and on rare occasions, become fatal. The DEA also says that about 4 million fentanyl prescriptions are dispensed by doctors in the United States each year. Whether you’re starting a new drug or have been taking it for a while, it’s natural to wonder about its possible short- and long-term effects.

Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms

She is passionate about using this knowledge to raise awareness, provide clear and accurate information, and to improve the quality of treatment for these disorders. If you’re concerned about potential misuse, chances of developing a dependence or having signs of an opioid use disorder, it’s highly advisable you openly talk about it with your health professional. The drug interacts with receptors in your brain to create feelings of pain relief, relaxation, contentment, and pleasure. While it’s true that the illicit use of fentanyl is a serious health concern in the United States, myths about fentanyl overdoses have been largely sensationalized.

Fentanyl Addiction Symptoms

Medically managed detoxification is often the first step in a comprehensive treatment plan. Detox allows your body to safely rid itself of the fentanyl while you experience the physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms as comfortably as possible under the how long does fentanyl stay in your system guidance of a medical professional. Because of fentanyl’s profound level of potency and growing prominence in society, it’s critical to understand where fentanyl comes from, its risks and adverse effects, and its role in overdoses in the United States.

How Do You Manage Fentanyl Withdrawal?

If you switch from using lozenge to using other forms of fentanyl, you will need to use a different dose. If you use the same dose of each medication, you may have life-threatening overdose symptoms. It binds to mu-opioid receptors in the brain and central nervous system. It impacts the areas of the body and brain that regulate and control emotions and pain. Addiction occurs when a person feels compelled to keep using a substance like fentanyl despite negative consequences in their life.

  • The development adds yet another layer of crisis to the country’s drug epidemic, which killed nearly 108,000 Americans last year.
  • But it binds to the receptor awkwardly, like a puzzle piece that doesn’t quite fit.
  • Living in the treatment facility helps remove the stress of home or work and allows you to focus on recovery in a supportive environment.
  • According to the most recent Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) report, 2.4 million Fentanyl prescriptions were dispensed in 2021.
  • In 2023, New Hampshire Public Radio highlighted the widespread dysfunction in the treatment industry, airing a podcast series The Thirteenth Step that investigated allegations of sexual abuse of clients in the drug treatment system.

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