Prescription opioid painkillers are among the most abused drugs in America. If you are aware of the opioid epidemic that has been ravaging North America for years, then you’re probably familiar with the drug called Fentanyl.

Fentanyl is an extremely potent narcotic in the opioid class. It is used to treat severe pain such as pain that’s associated with cancer.

It’s available in many different forms. It being available in different forms may contribute to the number of people getting addicted to it.

These different forms include:

  • Sublingual dissolving tables
  • Transdermal patches
  • Nasal spray
  • Lozenges
  • Injectable liquid

Treatment for Fentanyl involves the combination of detoxification from the drug, in-patient rehab, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and more. Chances are that if you’re reading this, you or someone you know may be battling a fentanyl addiction.

At ASIC Recovery, our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is dedicated to helping individuals develop healthier habits and build a life in long term recovery.

Click to learn more.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a schedule II controlled FDA-approved substance and is one of the most potent synthetic opioid painkillers in existence. It first came about in 1960 as a drug to treat moderate to severe pain and is approved for long-term pain management.

Like many other opioid painkillers, Fentanyl binds to the brain’s opioid receptors. These receptors regulate pain and emotions. When taken intravenously or smoked it can give a person an extreme rush of euphoria followed by an overall sense of well-being.

Fentanyl has many different prescription names such as:

  • Duragesic
  • Actiq
  • Sublimaze

Street names for Fentanyl include:

  • Dance Fever
  • China Town
  • China White
  • Apace

Fentanyl Addiction Symptoms

There are many different symptoms that accompany Fentanyl addiction. These include:

  • Needing to use the drug just to avoid withdrawal symptoms
  • Development of a tolerance; needing to use more of the drug to get the desired effect
  • Spending most of your time using Fentanyl and finding ways to get more Fentanyl
  • Being unable to stop even if you want to
  • Isolating from friends and family in order to use Fentanyl
  • Continuing to use Fentanyl even though it’s created serious problems in your life

Anyone can get addicted to Fentanyl. However, some people may be at higher risk than others. For instance, you may have a genetic predisposition (such as having an alcoholic parent) that makes it more likely for you to become addicted to narcotics.

Many people get addicted to Fentanyl through no fault of their own. They have chronic pain and are prescribed Fentanyl to deal with the pain. Then once Fentanyl stops being prescribed to them, they find they are going through terrible withdrawal symptoms due to them being physically dependent on the narcotic.

If you have a mental health disorder, you may be more likely to abuse Fentanyl to “self-medicate.”

Anyone who abuses opioid painkillers like Fentanyl for a long period of time will damage their dopamine receptors. Once these receptors are damaged, it may be hard for them to function properly without the presence of an opioid in the person’s system.

Fentanyl Treatment Options

Treatment for Fentanyl addiction can come in many different forms. Here are some of them.

Detox/Inpatient Rehab – Quitting Fentanyl “cold-turkey” on your own can be extremely difficult. Once you start to feel negative withdrawal symptoms, it can be very easy to talk yourself into going and getting more Fentanyl, thus keeping the cycle of addiction in motion.

A medically-supervised detox is highly recommended. However, after the detox period, going to an inpatient facility is often wise. This is because once you are no longer physically dependent on Fentanyl, there is another type of dependence you must deal with — psychological dependence.

Inpatient rehab usually lasts anywhere from 30 to 90 days. It can give you tools that will help you stay sober once you get back into the real world.

Programming at an inpatient facility usually includes:

  • Individual counseling
  • Group counseling
  • Addiction-recovery lectures
  • 12 step meetings
  • SMART recovery meetings
  • Discharge planning

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) – An IOP is usually a “step-down” from inpatient rehab back into the real world. It usually lasts about 6 to 8 weeks. Patients usually attend programming 3 days a week for a total of 9 to 10 hours a week. However, some IOPs may have a different format.

Much of the same programming that you have in an inpatient facility will be available in an IOP. In an IOP, patients have the advantage of bringing their day-to-day life struggles into a counseling session where they can get feedback from counselors and peers.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) – Opioid narcotics truly are some of the most addictive drugs on the planet. Some people may find it too difficult to function without assistance from certain medications.

When it comes to MAT medications for Fentanyl, the 2 most commonly used ones are Methadone and Suboxone.

Methadone has been around longer than Suboxone and usually involves going to a clinic every morning to receive a dose of methadone that will last until the following morning. Methadone is an opioid and can help a person avoid withdrawal symptoms while helping them with intense cravings for Fentanyl.

Suboxone is a partial opioid agonist that blocks opiate receptors in a person’s brain. It also keeps withdrawal symptoms at bay while reducing a person’s physical and psychological cravings.

12-Step Meetings and SMART Recovery

Recovery from Fentanyl addiction doesn’t happen overnight. For many addicts, recovery is a lifelong endeavor if they want to stay sober and happy. 12-step and SMART recovery meetings are a very important part of the Fentanyl treatment puzzle.

In these meetings, addicts help one another stay sober by utilizing methods that have worked for decades. One of the great things about these meetings is that you can find them almost anywhere. There are also many online meetings using platforms such as Zoom and Skype.

Fentanyl addiction is a potentially lethal condition. However, recovery is possible, and there are people who are more than ready to help you recover.

IOP at ASIC Recovery

Looking for substance abuse treatment in Texas? At ASIC Recovery, our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is dedicated to helping individuals develop healthier coping skills and build a supportive recovery network. Click to learn more.