According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, about 1.9 million people in the United States have an addiction to Fentanyl, whether through direct use or secondary misuse as a component of other substances like heroin.
Fentanyl users can quickly become addicted to its strong pain-relieving and sedative effects, and the drug’s addictive nature can make treatment difficult, especially if you don’t know why you became addicted in the first place. Click here to learn more.
People Begin to Abuse Fentanyl Because of Its Potency
Fentanyl is similar to morphine; it mimics the pain-relieving effects of opioid medications. The difference between Fentanyl and morphine is that Fentanyl is 80-100 times more potent than morphine. It has a “high potential for abuse that may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.” Because of Fentanyl’s high potency and its ability to quickly cause extreme physical dependence, doctors prescribe it cautiously and only in small amounts.
Fentanyl Is an Opiate and Habit-Forming Painkiller
Fentanyl is an opiate and habit-forming painkiller. It was first introduced as a medical drug in 1968 by the pharmaceutical company Janssen Pharmaceutica, which still holds the patent on this drug. It is most commonly used to treat patients with chronic pain or severe short-term pain, such as those who have cancer and after surgery.
Various behavioral and physical symptoms can identify fentanyl addiction. Behavioral signs of fentanyl abuse include:
- Increased tolerance of drugs
- Anxiety associated with quitting fentanyl use
- Withdrawal symptoms when not taking Fentanyl include depression, mood swings, cravings for more drugs, and insomnia.
Physical signs of fentanyl use are more difficult to identify because they are often masked by other drugs being abused at the same time. These include:
- Sudden weight loss due to anorexia from the drug
- Small pupils resemble pinpoints in size due to dilation caused by the drug’s potency.
Those Who Are Addicted to Prescription Drugs May Turn To Fentanyl
Prescription drugs can be hard to access and increasingly expensive. Those addicted may turn to Fentanyl due to their prescriptions’ high cost and hard-to-obtain nature. Other ways to treat injuries or conditions that cause pain include exercise, therapy, meditation, yoga, or diet changes. Look for alternative treatment options before you start using prescription drugs.
If you have a prescription for an opioid painkiller or any other drug that is addictive and you want to stop taking it for any reason, talk with your doctor about how best to taper off the medication without experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms.
People Can Develop Fentanyl Addiction From Opioid Addiction
The Fentanyl currently being used to cut heroin is significantly more potent than the naturally occurring drug. Depending on the particular manufacturer and batch, it can be up to 100 times more powerful than morphine. This potency, combined with its low cost of production at illegal labs, has spread its use across the entire country over the past five years.
When a person keeps taking Fentanyl, their body becomes dependent on it to feel normal. This forces them to take more doses to feel good again after each high wears off. At this point, they have developed an addiction and will need professional treatment to recover.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid not derived from the opium poppy plant. Fentanyl is an opiate available legally by prescription only. It is usually administered in the form of a transdermal patch or tablet. Since its introduction to the market, Fentanyl has become widely used due to its effectiveness in treating patients with severe pain. However, it also carries an extremely high potential for abuse and addiction.