Fentanyl is currently the most powerful synthetic opioid. It was originally developed to treat excruciating pain caused as a result of cancer and related treatment processes. It was first synthesized in the 1960s by Janssen Pharmaceuticals and is legal in the medical world. However, it is often used recreationally for its high analgesic power.
Considered to be nearly 100 times stronger than morphine, fentanyl provides instant relief from pain. When used recreationally, it is often mixed with other drugs like heroin, cocaine or alcohol to increase their potency. Also known as China Girl, Apace, Dance Fever, China Town, Goodfellas, China White, Great Bear, Poison, He-Man, Cash and Tango, even a tiny amount as big as a grain of salt is enough to cause an overdose. Considering how lethal it can prove to be, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has classified it as a Schedule II drug.
Fentanyl produces a sense of euphoria by altering the brain’s mu-opioid receptor functions. Prolonged use leads to the body developing a higher drug tolerance hence demanding a larger dose to produce the same effect. Chronic use of fentanyl leads to a sense of ecstatic euphoria followed by painful withdrawals.
According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), nearly 245,000 people, aged 12 or older, had misused prescription fentanyl. This estimate does not include the number of people who might have misused illicit fentanyl or those who might have used fentanyl mixed with heroin or cocaine.
Fentanyl use has been reported as the main cause of thousands of overdose deaths every year in the U.S. The main sources of fentanyl are Mexican drug cartels as well as the authorized drug industry. Drug peddlers usually lace cocaine and heroin with synthetically manufactured fentanyl to increase their profit margins. However, in the process, they make the product deadlier as users are generally not aware of the adulteration and use the same amount as is their dose.
Some of the common symptoms of fentanyl abuse include:
Overdosing on fentanyl often leads to coma and instant death. A sudden stop in its use may lead to painful withdrawal symptoms, including mood swings, diarrhea, severe bone pain, acute abdominal pain, vomiting, and anxiety. Considering the painful withdrawal symptoms, people looking to combat an addiction to fentanyl, often relapse. Therefore, for successfully conquering a fentanyl addiction, one must enlist professional help from a credible substance abuse treatment center.
The primary reasons why teens abuse fentanyl is to get high. Apart from this, the other reasons include:
Desire to fit in: Teens have a strong desire to fit in at any cost, even if it means using and abusing drugs and alcohol. Once the teen starts using, they quickly develop a tolerance and the drug use spirals out of control.
Peer pressure: A lot of teens feel that the only way to get accepted in the “in” social circle is to do what the others are doing. This, at times means indulging in risk-taking behavior and at others, may include taking drugs and alcohol.
Alleviate physical pain: Sometimes, a teen may be prescribed fentanyl to deal with real physical pain. However, slowly the use turns into abuse.
Self-medication: Some teens may be aware of the presence of a mental health condition. Still, they might not opt to seek treatment because of the stigma attached to such disorders. Instead, they self-medicate with painkillers like fentanyl to numb the emotional pain they feel and to suppress the symptoms of the mental disorder. Slowly they develop tolerance and increase the dose they use.
Fentanyl addiction has increased at an alarming rate over the past few years. Seeking professional help from a certified rehab may be the only way to overcome the addiction and lead a sober life. A comprehensive fentanyl addiction treatment program involves a combination of medications, counselling and alternate therapy.
ADEONA Healthcare is a rehab center providing comprehensive treatment programs for mental illness, drug and alcohol addiction, and dual diagnosis for teens aged 12-17. Our treatment programs are based on specific and individualized needs of each patient. For further information about how our addiction treatment programs can help your teen lead the productive and happy life that they deserve, call our 24×7 helpline (888) 379-9360. You can also chat online with a representative for further information.