Fentanyl is relatively obscure compared to opioid drugs like heroin, morphine, or oxycodone. Still, this powerful drug is out there, leaving a trail of death and despair in its wake.
If you’re struggling with addiction to fentanyl, you already know that stopping is hard. However, Florida is home to several high-quality treatment centers and fentanyl rehabs that offer the support you need to get well.
Although treatment is available in several forms, inpatient treatment or rehab is often best if you’re struggling with a drug as addictive as fentanyl. As you recover, you’ll have ample opportunities to enjoy Florida’s warmth and sunshine.
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Why Is Fentanyl So Dangerous?
Fatal overdose is a possibility every time you use fentanyl, and the more often you use it, the higher the risk. This drug is significantly more potent than heroin or morphine.
Some users may intentionally purchase fentanyl, but many have no idea the heroin, cocaine, or meth they’re buying is laced with fentanyl. Cutting fentanyl into other drugs increases the profit for the seller since making fentanyl is easy and inexpensive.
To make matters worse, labs often form fentanyl as pills that mimic meds such as oxycodone or Xanax. The pills are swallowed or crushed and smoked or snorted.
A Brief History of Fentanyl
Pharmaceutical fentanyl was first created in legitimate laboratories in the 1960s and is still used for severe pain that isn’t relieved by less potent drugs. It is prescribed in various forms, including injections, patches, lozenges, or tablets that dissolve under the tongue.
The DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) believes that illegal labs first produced fentanyl in the early 1990s, about the time information on how to manufacture the drug became readily available on the Internet. The DEA destroyed many labs in the early 2000s when the rate of fatal overdoses spiked significantly.
The DEA reports that most fentanyl in the United States originates in China, where illegal companies sell supplies to clandestine labs in the U.S. Buyers purchase the drugs on the street or the Dark Web.
While labs in China play a significant role in the accessibility of fentanyl in the U.S., two powerful criminal groups are responsible for an enormous amount of drugs coming from Mexico. The cartels rely on subcontractors to import, produce, and transport the drugs, which are sometimes routed through Canada. Competition between China and Mexico for U.S. dollars is stiff.
How Can You Tell If a Person Is Overdosing?
Fentanyl can cause the body to shut down because oxygen can’t reach the heart and lungs. According to the Medicine Abuse Project, an overdose can occur shortly after using fentanyl, or up to a couple of hours later.
Signs of overdose include:
- Clammy, pale skin
- Blue fingertips and lips
- Slow or difficult breathing, or no breathing at all
- No response when you say the person’s name or when you rub your knuckles on the middle of his chest
- Gurgling or snoring sound (“death rattle”)
If you suspect a fentanyl addiction overdose, call 911 right away, then perform CPR until paramedics arrive or until the person starts breathing on her own.
Naloxone Saves Lives
If your friend or family member uses fentanyl or other opiates, you should carry naloxone (Narcan) with you at all times. Naloxone is available in injectable form or nasal spray, and both are easy for non-medical professionals to use. If you administer the drug soon enough, you can block the drug’s effects and reverse the overdose.
If you use fentanyl, keep naloxone with you, and tell your family and friends where it is and how to use it. Never use fentanyl alone.
The majority of states now allow pharmacists to dispense naloxone kits without a prescription, and community organizations in many cities offer this life-saving medication free of charge.
Before your fentanyl rehab begins, you’ll be asked to provide information about your substance use, medical history, mental health, and substance abuse within your family. With this information, treatment professionals will work with you to devise a treatment plan tailored for your particular needs.
Once your plan is in place, you’re ready to begin medically supervised detox. A medical team will keep a close eye on your vital signs while the toxins leave your system, which generally takes about five days.
Fentanyl withdrawal can be rough, but it isn’t life-threatening, and the treatment center will give you meds to relieve withdrawal symptoms such as sleep problems, tremors, fever, anxiety, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Doctors will also prescribe medications to regular your temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, if necessary.
Once you’ve detoxed, you’ll begin treatment. Although you may feel great when the drugs clear your body, fentanyl detox is only one part of the process. Without treatment, generally consisting of counseling, education, and individual and group therapy, the risk of relapse and overdose is high.
The treatment center may switch you to a safer, longer-acting opioid like methadone or buprenorphine to reduce cravings and minimize withdrawal symptoms. Some people are concerned that medication-assisted therapy trades one opiate drug for another, but several years of research have proven that the medications reduce the risk of overdose and help you stay in treatment.
The treatment center will also work with you to devise an aftercare, or relapse-prevention plan to help you recognize and avoid triggers when you leave rehab. Aftercare may consist of individual and family counseling, support groups, 12-Step meetings, alumni programs, or phone calls. You may “step down” to a sober living environment while you transition back to a regular, drug-free life.
1st Step Fentanyl Addiction Treatment Center in Florida
Fentanyl is a potent, habit-forming drug, and making the decision to stop is stressful, but our team at First Step Behavioral Health is a licensed fentanyl addiction treatment center that can provide the help you need to restore your health and peace of mind. Drug treatment isn’t a one-size-fits-all arrangement, and we’ll take the time to create a treatment plan tailored to your particular needs. Call or text (866) 971-5531 or contact us online as soon as possible.