Understanding The Dangers of Fentanyl Abuse

Can you remember a time when you maybe sprained your wrist, tweaked your ankle or had a headache that just wouldn’t go away, so you took an extra Advil?

Maybe you can also remember one or two instances where an intense emotional event — whether traumatic (like the death of a family member) or simply intense (like an argument with a partner) — led you to have more than just one drink.

These are both examples of self-medicating, and they can occur in a variety of circumstances and with all sorts of substances, including those as dangerous as fentanyl. 

Unfortunately, there are many different ways this drug can be acquired. Currently, the majority of fentanyl in the United States is coming across the border from Mexico in the form of counterfeit pills, with the majority of the chemicals (ingredients) originally sourced from China.

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the fentanyl epidemic by breaking down what fentanyl is most commonly used for, and also what commonly leads people to abuse this drug.

What is fentanyl used for?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that, in its pharmaceutical form, was created to be a “miracle drug” for treating severe pain like the kind following significant surgery or cancer treatments.

Substance abuse can and does happen with professionally prescribed fentanyl, but the majority of fentanyl-related overdoses are linked to illicitly created or obtained fentanyl.

While fentanyl might be used for pain management, when distributed through illegal drug markets it’s primarily sold for the heroin-like euphoric effects it has on the mind and body. 

Because of its extreme potency and a high potential for abuse by its users, fentanyl is often mixed into other illicitly manufactured concoctions in order to make the substances more addictive and the customers more hooked.

Why do people abuse fentanyl?

The reasons that lead a person to initially begin abusing fentanyl can be vast. Some individuals might accidentally develop a substance use disorder by upping their prescription dosage without confirming it with their doctor first. While others might seek out fentanyl with the intention of abusing it.

While fentanyl can sometimes be beneficial in the appropriate environment and with medical supervision, it is not without negative effects.

What are the effects of fentanyl?

Fentanyl hooks its users through its euphoric effects, the high rarely comes without the crash.

The most common side effects of fentanyl abuse include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness and confusion
  • Difficult or troubled breathing
  • Loss of consciousness (fainting)
  • Heart palpitations or chest pain
  • Hallucinations and visual disturbances

In the most tragic cases, fentanyl abuse can lead to organ failure, cardiac arrest, overdose, coma and death. 

How addictive is fentanyl?

Fentanyl is considered extremely addictive, and one of the most toxic illicit drugs in the world.

Both pharmaceutically and illicitly made fentanyl are up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Being one of the most addictive substances ever created, it’s a leading factor in the majority of both nonfatal and fatal overdoses in the United States.

Addressing a substance use disorder can be overwhelming, which is why it’s not something you’re expected to or meant to go through alone. If you think you or someone you love might be struggling with substance abuse, fentanyl or otherwise, reach out to us today.

Start your recovery today

Our specialty here at Bluff Augusta is to provide you with personalized, evidence-based treatment designed to help you achieve both long-term sobriety and optimal health. 

Your most effective treatment plan is going to be one that was designed specifically for you, and that takes into account your habits, lifestyle, unique needs and goals. Here at Bluff, we work closely with you and your family from day one to ensure you receive the highest quality of care.

Send us a message or give us a call today to speak with one of our qualified advisors and learn more about what the next best step for your health is.