How Does a Fentanyl Addiction Start?

Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid that is used medically to manage severe pain, particularly in cancer patients or those undergoing surgery. However, it is also a highly addictive drug that can lead to the development of a substance use disorder or an overdose.

Fentanyl addiction can start in various ways, but typically it begins with legitimate use of the drug for pain management, often after surgery or medical procedure. Fentanyl is a highly potent opioid that can quickly lead to dependence and addiction, even when taken as prescribed.

Another way that fentanyl addiction can start is through recreational use, often in the form of counterfeit pills or heroin that has been laced with fentanyl. In this case, the individual may not be aware that they are taking fentanyl, and the drug’s potent effects can quickly lead to addiction. If you know someone struggling with Fentanyl addiction, Gloria Rehab offers comprehensive and effective treatment plans to help put an end to one’s battle with substance abuse.

How Does a Fentanyl Addiction Start

What are Opioids?

Opioids are a class of drugs that includes both prescription pain relievers such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, and fentanyl, as well as illegal drugs like heroin. Opioids function by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and other parts of the body, providing pain relief and inducing feelings of happiness.

Opioid drugs are often recommended for individuals with short-term or long-term pain, but they are highly addictive and can lead to opioid addiction and physical dependence, even when used as directed. The abuse of opioid drugs can cause severe health problems, including overdose and death.

In addition to their analgesic properties, opioid can cause other effects in the body, such as breathing difficulties, drowsiness, and a drop in blood pressure. It is vital for people to use opioids solely as prescribed and to be aware of the dangers associated with their usage and opioid addiction, particularly when combined with other substances.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid drug commonly used for pain relief in medical contexts. It is an extremely potent painkiller, estimated to be 50-100 times stronger than morphine, and is more powerful than other frequently used opioids such as hydrocodone and oxycodone. By binding to the opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord, fentanyl can reduce the sensation of pain.

It is typically prescribed for severe pain associated with cancer, surgery, or chronic pain conditions that have not responded to other treatments, and is available in various forms, including injections, lozenges, nasal sprays, and transdermal patches. Unfortunately, fentanyl is often misused recreationally and has caused many overdose deaths due to its high potency, which makes overdosing on even small amounts highly likely.

How Does a Fentanyl Addiction Start

How Do People Use Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid that can be used in various ways. Some individuals may take fentanyl as prescribed by a healthcare professional to alleviate severe pain resulting from conditions like cancer or surgery. In such instances, fentanyl can be effective in managing pain.

However, fentanyl misuse occurs when people use it in ways not directed by a healthcare professional, such as crushing and snorting pills or injecting the drug. Some people may also combine fentanyl with other substances like cocaine or heroin to enhance the effects or increase the supply.

Fentanyl is extremely potent, and its effects can be dangerous, even when used as prescribed. Misusing fentanyl can lead to a range of harmful consequences, including respiratory depression, overdose, and even death.

It is crucial to use fentanyl only as prescribed and to avoid using it in any other manner or with other substances without consulting a doctor.

Side Effects of Fentanyl Use

Fentanyl use, whether as prescribed or misused, can cause a range of side effects. The most common side effects of fentanyl can include respiratory depression, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, constipation and addiction.

Fentanyl drug abuse can also lead to an overdose, which can be life-threatening, especially when used in combination with other drugs or alcohol. It is crucial to seek immediate medical attention if you or someone you know is experiencing any of these side effects after using fentanyl. At Gloria Rehab, we offer safe and effective fentanyl detox services to those ready to end their battle with fentanyl abuse.

How Does Fentanyl Affect the Brain?

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid primarily used for pain relief, affects the brain by attaching to specific mu-opioid receptors, leading to increased release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, producing pleasurable and euphoric sensations.

However, it also depresses the central nervous system, which can cause side effects like drowsiness, confusion, and constipation. Continued use of fentanyl can result in tolerance and physical dependence, leading to withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of the drug.

Can Fentanyl Use Lead to Addiction?

Regular use of fentanyl, can result in physical dependence, tolerance, and addiction. The drug binds to the brain’s opioid receptors, producing feelings of relaxation and euphoria. The brain may become accustomed to fentanyl with consistent use, requiring higher doses to achieve the same effects. This cycle of increased drug use, tolerance, and dependence can ultimately lead to addiction, which is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition.

Seeking professional help is crucial for individuals struggling with fentanyl use or addiction. The standard approach to treating fentanyl addiction usually involves a combination of medical treatment aided by medication, therapy aimed at modifying behavior, and guidance provided by a qualified healthcare team. Many people can recover from fentanyl addiction with appropriate treatment and support.

Statistics on Fentanyl Use and Misuse

Fentanyl is used extensively due to its properties and benefits. However, fentanyl is misused as well. The following are some statistics related to fentanyl use and abuse:

  • In 2020, an estimated 1.6 million people in the United States used fentanyl, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).
  • Fentanyl-related overdose deaths in the United States increased from 0.9 to 14.0 per 100,000 people between 2013 and 2019.
  • In 2020, synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, were involved in over 60% of all drug overdose deaths in the United States.
  • Seizures of fentanyl by law enforcement agencies in the United States increased from 14 kilograms in 2010 to 2,545 kilograms in 2020, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
  • Fentanyl was implicated in 87% of all opioid overdose deaths in Canada in 2016.
  • Deaths involving fentanyl in the United Kingdom increased from 5 in 2008 to 828 in 2017.
  • In Australia, fentanyl was responsible for 31% of opioid-related deaths in 2018.

These statistics underscore the urgent need for effective prevention and treatment strategies to address the serious public health risks associated with fentanyl misuse.

Symptoms of Fentanyl Addiction

When a person repeatedly uses fentanyl, whether as prescribed or misused, they can develop an addiction to the drug. Fentanyl addiction can be identified by symptoms such as increased drug tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, continued use despite negative consequences and social withdrawal.

Fentanyl addiction is a severe condition that can have harmful and life-threatening consequences. Seeking professional help is crucial if you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms. A doctor or addiction specialist can offer support and guidance to overcome the addiction. Looking for the best fentanyl addiction treatment program for your unique needs? Contact us now!

Can You Overdose on Fentanyl?

Overdosing on fentanyl is a possibility, and it can be highly hazardous and potentially lethal. Fentanyl is a potent opioid that can cause respiratory depression, which can result in reduced breathing rates and oxygen deprivation leading to severe complications such as coma, brain damage, or death.

The risk of an overdose is higher when fentanyl is taken in higher doses than prescribed or when used recreationally. Additionally, combining fentanyl with other substances such as alcohol or other drugs that also suppress the central nervous system can result in additive effects, increasing the risk of an overdose.

It is crucial to use fentanyl only as directed by a healthcare provider and follow the recommended dosing instructions strictly. If you suspect that you or someone else is experiencing an overdose, seek medical attention immediately by calling emergency services or going to the nearest hospital.

How Does a Fentanyl Addiction Start

How Can a Fentanyl Overdose Be Treated?

Immediate medical attention is crucial for a person who has overdosed on fentanyl, as an overdose can be life-threatening. Treatment for a fentanyl overdose typically involves administering naloxone, a medication that can reverse the effects of opioid overdose.

After administering naloxone, emergency medical care such as providing oxygen and administering fluids or medications may be necessary to support the person’s breathing and heart function. Hospitalization and monitoring in a specialized unit, such as the ICU may be required to ensure the person’s recovery and prevent any further complications.

It is important to note that seeking immediate medical attention is crucial for the best chance of survival and for preventing long-term health complications. Individuals who have suffered a fentanyl overdose may require ongoing addiction treatment to ensure that they avoid future overdoses and achieve sustainable recovery in the long run.

How Is Fentanyl Addiction Treated?

To treat fentanyl addiction, a combination of methods are used. The treatment approach may vary depending on the individual’s needs and circumstances. The following are some common methods used in fentanyl addiction treatment:


The initial stage of treating fentanyl addiction involves discontinuing the use of the drug and addressing withdrawal symptoms through inpatient or outpatient care.

Medication-assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medications such as buprenorphine, methadone, or naltrexone can be used to reduce cravings, manage withdrawal symptoms, and prevent relapse.

Behavioral Therapy

This is used to address the underlying causes of addiction, identify triggers, and develop coping mechanisms to prevent relapse. Common forms of behavioral therapy include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), contingency management (CM), and motivational interviewing (MI).

Support Programs

Ongoing support is important for long-term recovery and managing withdrawal symptoms. The support may include group therapy, individual counseling, and 12-step programs like Narcotics Anonymous (NA).

Co-occurring Disorder Treatment

In fentanyl addiction treatment, it is crucial to address any underlying mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety. Although it may be difficult, recovering from fentanyl addiction requires sustained effort and time.

Nevertheless, with the right treatment and support, many individuals can successfully overcome their addiction and regain control over their lives.

Seek Help

It is essential to seek help for fentanyl addiction for several reasons. Firstly, fentanyl is a highly potent opioid that can lead to overdose and death, so seeking help can provide the necessary medical care and support to manage the physical and psychological dependence on the drug and prevent further harm. Additionally, fentanyl addiction can cause health problems, affect relationships and daily life, and be difficult to overcome alone. Seeking professional help can mitigate health problems, improve relationships, and provide necessary tools and guidance for lasting recovery.

To effectively address dependency on fentanyl, enhance overall health and well-being, and attain sustainable recovery, it is crucial to seek assistance for fentanyl addiction. For more information that how to seek help for Fentanyl addiction, reach out to the team at Gloria Rehab today.

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