From coast to coast, fentanyl misuse has proven to be a serious problem in the opioid crisis. A synthetic opiate commonly used to control severe pain during and after surgery, fentanyl is similar to morphine but can be as much as 100 times more potent. Due to its powerful nature, this dangerous drug has exploded on the black market and is now used to cut or replace heroin and other street drugs by many enterprising dealers.

Fentanyl use has led to an increase in overdoses and deaths nationwide, as well as a significant spike in the need for fentanyl addiction treatment. Whether you’re new to abusing fentanyl or you feel trapped with no way out, getting help is the first step in overcoming an addiction that could be life-threatening. If you or someone you love is struggling with a fentanyl use disorder, contact us today to learn more about fentanyl rehab and recovery.

If you or a loved one need help now, call 772-774-3872 or click here to use your insurance to start rehab.

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid similar to morphine or oxycodone. When used properly by a medical professional to treat severe pain, prescription fentanyl can be extremely effective during and immediately following surgery. However, when used recreationally, fentanyl can be highly addictive and potentially deadly.

Due to its potency and the cheaper cost of production and procurement, fentanyl’s presence on the street is only growing, and more and more people are developing fentanyl dependence. It can be sold by itself, mixed with other drugs to increase the high or even pressed into pills designed to look like prescription opioid medications. In some cases, users believe they’re buying a drug like oxycodone or heroin but receive a product that’s 100% fentanyl. Heroin, meth and cocaine are all regularly cut with fentanyl in some markets, meaning few recreational users of street drugs are free from potential exposure.

In some cases, the fentanyl used to cut heroin or sell individually is medical grade, but most of the time, illegal fentanyl is manufactured and sold in a liquid or powder form. This means many people mixing fentanyl solutions are entirely unregulated and uncontrolled, with no indication of the chemical makeup. Consequently, many users aren’t sure exactly what they’re taking or the potency of a particular dose, leading to a far greater risk of fentanyl overdose or death. With over 75,000 opioid-related overdose deaths from April 2020 to April 2021 in the United States, including those from fentanyl, getting help for opioid medication abuse is more important than ever.

image representing group therapy as part of fentanyl rehab treatment

Fentanyl Facts and Statistics

The harmful consequences of fentanyl use are well-publicized, but that doesn’t mean the true extent of the problem is understood. These fentanyl facts indicate exactly how dangerous the drug can be, as well as how shockingly prevalent it is among drug users across the country.

  • For an average-sized adult with no tolerance, just 2 milligrams of ingested fentanyl can be lethal.

  • 42% of illicitly manufactured fentanyl contains at least 2 milligrams — a potentially lethal amount for unsuspecting users — with some as high as 5 milligrams.

  • In 2020, overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids like fentanyl rose over 55%.
  • There’s no way to determine whether fentanyl is fake or legitimate without laboratory testing.

  • The best way to overcome compulsive use is through a fentanyl addiction treatment center.

Despite depictions in popular culture, touching trace amounts of fentanyl can’t cause an overdose. Nonetheless, fentanyl that’s accidentally ingested or inhaled can be dangerous.

How Does Fentanyl Work?

Fentanyl functions in a manner similar to most opioids: by attaching to opioid receptors in the brain when smoked, eaten, injected or snorted. These are the same receptors that endorphins bond to in times of pleasure or excitement or to control pain. This is what makes opioids effective as pain medications in a clinical setting. These effects are why drugs like fentanyl cause a rush of pleasurable feelings, which creates an intoxicating sensation that results in continued use.

Fentanyl functions in a manner similar to most opioids: by attaching to opioid receptors in the brain when smoked, eaten, injected or snorted. These are the same receptors that endorphins bond to in times of pleasure or excitement or to control pain. This is what makes opioids effective as pain medications in a clinical setting. The effects of fentanyl are responsible for causing a rush of pleasurable feelings, creating an intoxicating sensation that leads to its continued use.

However, with increased use, the body builds up a tolerance and physical dependence to these feelings. When this occurs, a small dose isn’t enough to maintain the desirable feelings that came with the original experience, driving users to take more fentanyl to achieve the same response. In addition, normal things that used to bring joy in life, such as spending time with friends or reading a good book, feel muted and less impactful as a result. This is often the beginning stage of substance use disorder and leads to a downward spiral of fentanyl abuse.

It’s important to note that no amount of fentanyl is safe for long-term use. Even when fentanyl, or other opioids like morphine, is prescribed by doctors to treat severe pain following a procedure, it can lead to substance use disorder if not used responsibly. If opiates are prescribed for managing pain after medical care, take the medication only as long as advised in the prescription form in order to address chronic pain, and then wean off the drug as soon as possible with the help of medical professionals or fentanyl addiction treatment programs.

therapist discussing to an addict the effects of fentanyl, withdrawal process and how they can help

Signs and Symptoms of Fentanyl Addiction

With the prevalence of fentanyl in recreational drugs of all kinds, it’s important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of fentanyl addiction, both in yourself and in those you love. Some of the common fentanyl’s effects include:

  • Using fentanyl with other drugs regularly to get through the day

  • Steadily increasing usage over time, or chasing a high
  • Getting anxious or jittery when not in proximity to opioids
  • Spending a significant amount of time and money to obtain opioids
  • Going to extreme measures to obtain opioids due to intense feelings of need

  • Severe cravings for prescribed fentanyl when not actively using or when too much time has passed between doses

  • Trouble focusing on normal activities, like work or school, without access to opioids

  • Withdrawing from friends and family due to drug use
  • Lack of interest in hobbies and activities due to drug use
  • Lying to others about drug use or intentionally hiding signs of taking fentanyl

  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not taking regular doses of fentanyl

  • Denying the existence of a problem related to drug use
  • Financial problems from excessive spending on drugs
  • Resisting attempts to get help, like rejecting fentanyl addiction treatment offered by concerned friends or family members

Severe withdrawal symptoms accompanying fentanyl use disorder can include shaking, sweating, agitation, irritation, inability to sleep, drowsiness and weight loss. Not all of these signs are present for everyone; the extent of fentanyl withdrawal will depend on the severity of the addiction, the time between doses and differences in physical response.

Any combination of these warning signs should be seen as a need for fentanyl addiction treatment. It may be hard to convince an active user to seek help, but due to the extreme dangers of fentanyl and similar opioids, drug abuse treatment often can’t wait. Encouraging a fentanyl user to confront their drug abuse is one of the most important steps in promoting sobriety.

Verify Your Insurance

If you have coverage of any kind from a major insurance provider, your treatment is likely covered. We promise to keep your information confidential.

Verify Your Insurance

If you have coverage of any kind from a major insurance provider, your treatment is likely covered. We promise to keep your information confidential.

The Importance of Fentanyl Rehab

For those living with prescription fentanyl drug addiction, fentanyl treatment is a vital first step on the road to recovery. A fentanyl rehab program can help users safely overcome the physical and mental aspects of addiction by providing comprehensive substance abuse treatment designed to promote and sustain sobriety.

A thorough approach to drug addiction treatment entails combining medication management, such as in treatment for managing withdrawal symptoms, with medical detox, group therapy opportunities, individual therapy, and family therapy. A variety of treatments and behavioral therapies can be central to overall health, ensuring care on as many levels as possible.

Successful programs will usually start with residential rehab to help monitor patient behavior and ensure they have access to professionals that can safely and effectively help them when they experience withdrawal symptoms as soon as the acute withdrawal phase starts. However, this may also involve a step-down program that, in time, transitions from inpatient rehab to a partial hospitalization program followed by intensive outpatient care.

image representing fentanyl addiction treated at Behavioral Health Centers with individual therapy

Get Help for Fentanyl Addiction and Substance Abuse Today

If you or someone you love is in need of recovery from opioid abuse, fentanyl addiction treatment facilities are a very important first step. When left untreated, fentanyl addiction can cause lasting health issues, including fentanyl overdose and potentially death. Please contact us today to learn more about how fentanyl addiction treatment can make a difference for you.

Our fentanyl rehab in Port St. Lucie provides safe, comfortable, and effective treatment to residents across the United States and the following local counties and cities of Okeechobee County, Palm Beach County, Martin County, Jupiter, Stuart, Fort Pierce, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Naples, Fort Myers, Tampa, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, and Orlando.

BHC also provides treatment for the following substances: Alcohol, Benzos, Cocaine, Drugs, Heroin, Meth, and Prescription Drugs.

Behavioral Health Centers is a Joint Commission accredited treatment center located in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

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Medically reviewed by:

Dr. K. Dodge, PhD, MSPH, MSW

Get Help Today

Don’t go through the process of recovery alone. There are people who can help you with the struggle you’re facing. Get in touch with one today.

Check Insurance

If you have coverage of any kind from a major insurance provider, your treatment is likely covered. We promise to keep your information confidential.