What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is an extremely dangerous synthetic opioid that has been directly linked to thousands of deaths each year. Just 3 milligrams of fentanyl can cause a fatal overdose in the average person. To make matters worse, it has become a popular, unadvertised additive to many “street-level” drugs, which makes it almost impossible to know how much fentanyl has been added to a dosage. It is believed that many fentanyl overdoses are suffered by people who had no idea that they were even taking the substance.
Fentanyl is often found in these common varieties:
- Transdermal skin patches
- Lollipops (Actiq)
- Sublingual fentanyl
- Fentanyl injection (Sublimaze)
- Fentanyl citrate syrup
On This Page
- Health Risks Caused by Fentanyl Use
- Fatality Risk of Fentanyl Use
- Signs of Fentanyl Addiction
- How to Help Someone Struggling with Fentanyl Addiction
Fentanyl is one of the strongest synthetic opioids widely available through illicit channels. It is also often mixed into other drugs without the user knowing, which further increases the risk of an overdose.
Fentanyl overdose will usually cause the following symptoms:
- Sudden dizziness and confusion
- Nausea and vomiting
- Contracted pupils
- Low blood pressure and weak pulse
- Drooping, heavy head
- Blue lips and nails
If someone has taken fentanyl and might be experiencing an overdose, 911 must be called immediately.
Tell the emergency responders that fentanyl is the likely cause of the overdose, so they know to bring Narcan injectables, which can counteract the drug quickly. Please be aware that New Jersey law protects most people from drug crime charges if they seek medical help after using an illegal drug.
The worst consequence of fentanyl use is death. Only 3 milligrams can trigger a fatal cardiac event in the average user. To put 3 milligrams into perspective, a small, regular-strength tablet of acetaminophen is 250 milligrams, which is more than 80 times the size of a fatal fentanyl dosage.
Risks of repeated or long-term fentanyl use can include:
- Heart failure
- Strained breathing
- Brain damage
- Kidney and liver failure
Fentanyl causes an extreme and sudden high in most users. They often exhibit signs of malaise and a general lack of awareness of their surroundings and situation. As such, people who use fentanyl have a hard time understanding the effects it has on them, so they do not realize that they have an addiction to it.
You might be addicted to fentanyl if you:
- Have no energy when not on fentanyl
- Feel a constant urge to take more fentanyl
- Suffer newly onset anxious or depressive phases
- Struggle with chronic nausea or constipation
- Spend much of your money on fentanyl
- Put using fentanyl before other responsibilities
Some of the earliest signs of fentanyl addiction might not be physical at all, too. In many cases, people with a fentanyl addiction first show social signs of addiction, such as distancing themselves from anyone who doesn’t use fentanyl or who opposes their use of it. If your loved one has started to avoid you after you told them that you are worried about their fentanyl use, then it is already time to seek help for them.
Fighting fentanyl addiction is not something that can be taken lightly. The drug is so strong and dangerous that your approach must be intentional and focused. But that does not mean that you or your loved one must walk the road of sobriety alone.
The most important first step to take is to know where to find professional treatment options. At SOBA New Jersey, we offer a variety of rehab treatment options made specifically for people with fentanyl addiction, including medical detox.
Please keep in mind that someone can benefit from fentanyl rehab programs even if signing up for them wasn’t their idea. Don’t believe the myth that people need to “want to recover” to benefit from rehab. If your loved one is struggling with fentanyl addiction but won’t admit that anything is wrong, then SOBA New Jersey can still help them.
At times, you can feel lost and confused when struggling with addiction or mental health. Our team understands what you are going through and works with you to reclaim the life you deserve.