The Leading Expert in Treatment for Alcohol and Substance Abuse
and Founder of The Hills Treatment Center
Fentanyl Addiction

Fentanyl is found under the brand names of Fentora, Sublimaze, Instanyl, Duragesic, Abstral and others. On the street it is called China White, Apache, TNT, goodfella and other names. Fentanyl was first synthesized by Dr. Paul Janssen in 1960 from which other Fentanyl anologues have been developed for medical use. It was historically used to treat chronic breakthrough pain and used in pre-procedures for pain relief and as an anesthetic when combined with benzodiazepines. In the mid 1990's Fentanyl was introduced into wide spread palliative use with the Duragesic patch. In the 2000's other prescription forms appeared such as the Actiq lollipop and the Fentrorabuccal tablets. The Duragesic transdermal patches are now the most widely used synthetic opioids in clinical practices.Without medical prescription Fentanyl is classed a Schedule II substance in the United States of America.

Fentanyl is a synthetic narcotic opiate analgesic with a rapidly felt effect for short duration. Fentanyl is approximately 100 times stronger than morphine. Fentanyl works by binding to the body's opiate receptors especially in areas of the brain which regulate pain and emotions. The binding boosts dopamine levels creating the sensations of euphoria and relaxation. Fentanyl has the systematic name of, N-(1-(2-phenylethyl)-4-piperidinyl)-N-phenylpropanamide. The chemical formula for Fentanyl is C22H28N2O.

In a pharmacy, depending on strength, Fentanyl costs around $10 to 30 per unit. On the street Fentanyl is often sold as heroin or mixed with heroin and cocaine. By itself however, like in patch form, it costs around $15 to $40 per unit, again depending on strength.

Recreational users of Fentanyl use it for the sedative opiate effects of relaxation and euphoria.

Side effects of Fentanyl include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Respiratory depression
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Nervousness
  • Possible insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Slowed reactions
  • Loss of appetite

Risk of over-dose of Fentanyl is increased when combined with alcohol or other drugs.

Symptoms of Fentanyl use are:

  • Extreme weakness/dizziness
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Weak pulse
  • Possible respiratory arrest
  • Fainting
  • Coma
  • Death

Continuous use or abuse of Fentanyl can cause increased tolerance and lead to addiction. People who get an addiction to Fentanyl have a compulsive need for the drug and find it hardto cut down or stop usage. Addicts' lives become completely orientated around spending more time obtaining and using the drug. Fentanyl addiction can result in a complete collapse of one's social and professional life as their addiction becomes their priority.

Quitting Fentanyl abruptly can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms including:

  • Anxiety
  • Muscles aches
  • Back and joint pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Rapid heart rate and breathing
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Fever
  • Anorexia
  • Insomnia
  • Weakness

If Fentanyl was prescribed by your doctor, you should consult your doctor if you are having any of the symptoms above. It is recommended to try to avoid these withdrawals by slowly decreasing dosage you are taking eventually leading to abstinence.

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