Side Effects of Fentanyl Abuse
Fentanyl, or China White, is a synthetic opioid developed for pain management among cancer patients. However, since it is up to 100 times stronger than morphine and has a high potential for abuse, it’s often mixed with heroin. Some add fentanyl to heroin to increase potency. Others take the drug unknowingly after a supplier mixes it into other substances. On the street, it is often disguised as potent heroin or added to other substances to turn a higher profit.
Unfortunately, fentanyl use is driving high overdoses, many of which are fatal. From 2019 to 2020, overdose deaths from synthetic opioids, besides methadone, increased by over 56%. This rate is 18 times higher than the number of overdose deaths in 2013 and requires national attention. Deaths from fentanyl are avoidable when users receive the right treatment. Learn about the various fentanyl side effects, including overdose and death.
Zinnia Health offers comprehensive substance abuse options if you or your loved one are struggling with fentanyl or opioid abuse. Discover more about the treatment process and the available levels of care to take proactive action — it could be the difference between life and death.
What Are the Short-Term Side Effects of Fentanyl?
The short-term effects of fentanyl are similar to other opioid analgesics. However, since this drug is so potent, even a slight increase in dosage can cause complications.
According to the DEA, when taking fentanyl, you can expect some or all of the following effects:
- Drowsiness and sedation
- Respiratory depression
- Visual disturbances and possible hallucinations
- Low blood pressure
- Possible overdose, followed by death
What Are the Long-Term Side Effects of Fentanyl?
One of the most problematic long-term side effects is addiction. Users enter a dangerous cycle of abuse, increasing their risk of a fentanyl overdose. If a user injects fentanyl, they also increase their risk of transmitting hepatitis or HIV. Once treatment is required, the process is relatively complex, requiring professional, comprehensive support. At this point, a user may have experienced significant damage to their physical health, mental health, and relationships.
For example, chronic fentanyl abuse can lead to weakened immunity. Some users will also experience seizures, breathing issues, and gastrointestinal problems. Others will exhibit worsening mental effects, such as personality changes and delusions. These effects can result in social withdrawal.
The longer you use fentanyl, the greater the risk of the following long-term side effects:
- Depression and anxiety
- High risk of overdose
- Impaired memory
- Skin infections
- Chronic constipation
- Damaged veins (if injecting)
- Poor appetite and weight loss
If you are abusing fentanyl, take action before severe health consequences develop. Zinnia Health has the resources and access to the treatment you require. Please call our helpline at (855) 430-9439 to learn more about the available treatment options and next steps. Discover the evidence-based therapies we offer at treatment facilities across the nation.
How Is Fentanyl Abused?
When a doctor prescribes fentanyl, such as Sublimaze, it’s administered as a patch, lozenge, or injectable solution. However, illegally produced fentanyl is sold as a powder, put in eye droppers and nasal sprays, made into pills, or dropped onto blotter paper. These variations allow for different methods of administration.
Since fentanyl is highly addictive, users quickly develop a dependence. Users will often take a spectrum of opioids based on what they can get to avoid the withdrawal symptoms associated with substance use disorder. Some will take heroin, while others will take a combination of prescription drugs — often stealing them from others in their household or purchasing them illegally on the street.
Signs of Fentanyl Abuse
As a loved one, it’s essential to spot possible symptoms of fentanyl abuse. At first, you may begin to notice changes in behavior and mood. Users will often become withdrawn. They may also place themselves in risky situations despite the potential consequences.
Another key sign is fentanyl withdrawal symptoms during the detoxification process. Those addicted to fentanyl who stop using will experience the following as early as a few hours after the last dose was taken. The symptoms are incredibly uncomfortable, causing people to continue using even if they no longer want to.
In this case, look out for the following warning signs:
- Muscle and bone pain
- Severe cravings
- Cold flashes
- Sleep issues
- Uncontrollable leg movements
What Drugs, Substances, or Supplements Interact With Fentanyl?
Polysubstance drug abuse is a significant public health concern in the United States, as 50% of overdose deaths involved multiple drugs in 2019.
Taking other substances like cocaine or alcohol can synergistically exacerbate fentanyl’s side effects. In a clinical setting, this can cause complex scenarios.
Since fentanyl is an opioid, you must avoid taking other opioids simultaneously. Combining fentanyl with other opioids can significantly increase the risk of drug overdose deaths. The combination of depressants will slow your breathing and increase your risk of brain damage and overdose.
Fentanyl abuse is a serious matter and an ongoing public health issue. This synthetic drug contributes to high overdose rates, which is why addiction treatment is critical. All it takes is one dose for a potentially fatal effect.
Treating fentanyl addiction is a complex process that often requires a range of evidence-based treatment options. Since no two individuals are identical, finding an individualized treatment program is crucial. At Zinnia Health, we understand the value of holistic, customized treatment — no program should take a one-size-fits-all approach.
Fentanyl addiction treatment is a stepping stone to a better life — one where you’re free from the potentially deadly highs and lows of drug abuse. Whether you seek detox support, a professional inpatient setting, or intensive outpatient treatment, Zinnia Health is here for you and your family. As we say, we offer health and healing for everyone, everywhere. Today is the day you say yes to the life you want and deserve.
Fentanyl has claimed the lives of thousands of victims. The longer you use it, the higher the risk. However, with one phone call, that can all change. Our comprehensive treatment plans are tailored to your unique needs and goals, helping you achieve a healthier, more fulfilling future. Please contact Zinnia Health to discuss your situation and begin the healing process.