woman with head in hands considering the dangers of fentanyl

Dangers of Fentanyl

There are many dangers of fentanyl use, making it imperative that a person who is addicted to this drug get professional help through an opioid addiction treatment program

There are many severe side effects of using this drug. If you or a loved one is battling fentanyl use and needs compassionate, effective treatment, contact Promises Behavioral Health at 844.875.5609.

What Is Fentanyl?

Pharmaceutical fentanyl was originally developed as a pain management treatment for people who have cancer. It’s administered to cancer patients through a patch that is applied to the skin.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is anywhere from 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Its powerful opioid properties have made it a commonly misused drug. 

Fentanyl is often disguised as very potent heroin or added to heroin because of its potency. Many people who use heroin are unknowingly using fentanyl, which can result in death by overdose.

Other names that fentanyl is known by include: 

  • Apace
  • Goodfellas
  • He-Man
  • Tango & Cash
  • Poison
  • China Town
  • Shady Eighties
  • Dance Fever
  • Fake Oxy
  • China White

Additional names for fentanyl and the other drugs it’s often mixed with on the streets include Beans, Greenies, and Green Apples.

Why Do People Use Fentanyl?

While some people use pharmaceutical fentanyl for its intended use as a painkiller, others use it for its euphoric effects to get high. A person who uses it for euphoria can experience sedation and extreme relaxation. 

The potency of fentanyl and the fact that it is highly addictive mean that people can become dependent on it to feel pleasure. 

Like other opioids, such as morphine and heroin, fentanyl produces results by binding to opioid receptors in the brain. These receptors control emotions and pain. With prolonged use, the brain depends on the drug to create feelings of pleasure and enjoyment.

Fentanyl Side Effects: What Are the Dangers of Fentanyl?

Fentanyl’s side effects are serious. Deaths by overdose in the U.S. are increasingly related to this opioid. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 14.3% of overdose deaths in 2011 were due to fentanyl, but in 2017, that rose to 59.8%.

While pharmaceutical fentanyl is now available as lozenges, shots, and patches, illegal fentanyl is sold as dissolvable paper, nasal sprays, eye drops, pills, and powder. People can snort it, drip it, inject it, or inhale it, and it produces an almost instant high.

The dangers of fentanyl and side effects commonly associated with it include:

  • Excessive euphoria or happiness
  • Excessive energy
  • Sedation and drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Skin rashes and itching
  • Severe muscle stiffness
  • Irregular or slow heartbeat
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Urinary retention

This is only a short list of fentanyl side effects. Some others include pounding in the ears, tightness in the chest, agitation, cough, poor coordination, shivering, and sweating.

Symptoms of a Fentanyl Overdose

Symptoms and signs of a fentanyl overdose can vary greatly from one person to another. However, if you notice any of the following signs, seek medical attention immediately:

  • Clammy skin that is cold to the touch
  • Small, pinpoint pupils in the eyes
  • A slow heartbeat 
  • Slow, shallow, or labored breathing
  • Seizures
  • Blue or pale fingernails, skin, or lips

In addition, if a person who has used fentanyl is so drowsy or lethargic that they cannot answer when they are spoken to, call 911 immediately. The same is true if the person is asleep and cannot be awoken.

Compassionate, Effective Treatment at Promises Behavioral Health

If you or someone you know needs help with fentanyl addiction, we’re here for you. Many fentanyl side effects go away during treatment as your body recovers, and the risks that accompany opioid use can be mitigated. For more information and to get the help you deserve, contact Promises Behavioral Health at 844.875.5609.

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